Israel strikes 'dozens' of Iranian targets in Syria

The rockets launched against Israel were intercepted the Iron Dome air defence system a military spokesmanĀ told reporters. AFP  JALAA MAREY

Anna Borschchevskaya, an expert on Russian policy towards the Middle East for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told JNS that Putin does not "really have an interest, nor ability, to restrain Iran".

The immediate tensions stem from an Israeli air strike on what they claimed was an Iranian drone facility at the so-called T-4 air base, near Palmyra, on 9 April, which reportedly killed several Iranian military advisers.

Fears of war have increased further in recent days, following President Donald Trump's announcement Wednesday of the United States' withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

A series of strikes over the last few months - all blamed on Israel - have struck Iranian assets in Syria and killed Iranian forces there. Iran has neither directly confirmed or denied the allegation.

Robert Fisk, who has repeatedly challenged dominant USA media narratives on the Syrian civil war and other Middle East crises, argued in a column for The Independent on Thursday that the "latest overnight Israeli air strikes, supposedly at Iranian forces in Syria after a supposed Iranian rocket attack on Israeli forces in Golan-and it's important to use the "supposed" and not take all this at face value-must have been known to the Americans in advance". Israel carried out the strike with impunity after entering Syrian airspace uninvited.

Speaking at the Herzliya Conference, an annual security gathering north of Tel Aviv, Lieberman said Israel would respond fiercely to any further Iranian actions. "We have no desire to escalate". It's the first time Iran itself, and not a proxy, has launched an attack on the Jewish state. This would allow them to attack Israel not only from Lebanese soil - where Israel waged a destructive war with Hezbollah in 2006 - but also from across the border. This, coupled with Israel and Russian Federation growing closer in recent years, has resulted in Iran no longer enjoying outright backing from Moscow.


In a rare public gesture by an Arab government, Bahrain expressed its support for the Israeli air raids.

Zarif made no mention of the flare-up with Israel, but said the country had the right to defend itself, particularly in the light of the eight-year war with Iraq that began when the regime of Saddam Hussein invaded Iran in 1980. Israel has warned it will not tolerate its archenemy Iran establishing a military presence on its doorstep.

Israel said the targets included weapons storage, logistics sites and intelligence centers used by elite Iranian forces in Syria. It also attacked Syrian anti-aircraft batteries after they entered the fray.

An Israeli airstrike on Iranian military installations in Syria left 23 people dead, according to a watchdog group. The Israeli military had no comment. It said it intercepted most of the Israeli missiles.

IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus told a news briefing Thursday morning that all the Israeli fighters returned safely after destroying Iranian and Syrian targets.

Israel has conducted scores of strikes on Iran and its allies inside Syria, rarely acknowledging them publicly.

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