Israel and Iran trade fire in most direct confrontation yet

Israel and Iran trade fire in most direct confrontation yet

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the Iranian rockets either fell short of their targets - military bases in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights - or were intercepted.

Iran, which shares no common border with Israel, has sought to establish an unbroken swath of territory under its control extending across Iraq to Syria and Lebanon, which would enable Iranian forces to challenge Israel directly. Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an IDF spokesman, called the attack "the most severe attempt" by Iran's Al Quds force to attack the country.

Netanyahu publicly hailed the decision and followed up with air strikes on Iranian military positions in Syria, a country that borders Israel and which Israel fears may increasingly be used as a base by Iran to attack the Jewish state.

Mekelberg said the message that Israel was trying to get across is that it was not interested in escalation.

Russian Federation is not in talks with the Syrian government about supplying advanced S-300 ground-to-air missiles and does not think they are needed, the Izvestia daily cited a top Kremlin aide as saying on Friday, in an apparent U-turn by Moscow, Reuters reports.

Thousands of Iranians took to the streets on Friday to protest against the decision, with Iran saying that it might resume uranium enrichment at a higher rate within weeks if its benefits from the deal fall flat after the United States pullout.

The White House condemned Iran's "provocative rocket attacks from Syria against Israeli citizens" and expressed strong support for "Israel's right to act in self-defense".

If so, the likelihood that the Iranian-Israeli confrontation will escalate increases. During the civil war, Israel is believed to have carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria, mainly hitting weapons shipments.

There was no immediate comment from Iran.

Israeli intelligence has said it anticipated possible Iranian action after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the nuclear agreement with Iran.

On May 8, Israel targeted a Syrian military site in the Kisweh area in the southwestern countryside of the capital Damascus, with activists saying 15 people were killed, including eight Iranians. But it then went on to strike at most, if not all, of the Iranian installations it knows about in Syria.


On April 30, he appeared on prime-time television to present Israel's case that Trump should abandon the 2015 worldwide nuclear deal with Iran. In its initial stages, it would be Israeli air power against the long-range missile forces of Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah.

However, Mr Lieberman made it clear that Israel would not, amongst other things, allow sophisticated Iranian air defences to be deployed in Syria which could range over Israeli air-space, effectively closing down aviation there.

Berri, a powerful longtime politician allied with Hezbollah, said the Syrian response has achieved a "balance of terror" with Israel.

Thursday's flare-up came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned from a visit to Moscow, where he discussed Syria concerns with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Israeli air force conducted airstrikes against the Syrian T-4 airbase in February and April, claiming it had targeted "Iran's bases in Syria", which Tehran had allegedly been planning to use in order to attack Israel.

Abraham Diskin, political science professor with the Hebrew University said standing up to Iran was likely to increase support for Netanyahu, as it would for any government, left or right.

"The Iranian regime's deployment into Syria of offensive rocket and missile systems aimed at Israel is an unacceptable and highly unsafe development for the entire Middle East". Ambassador, thank you so much for your time this morning and for helping us understand this.

Iran's enemies are not seeking military confrontation, said the deputy head of the IRGC, Brigadier Hossein Salami, on Thursday. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility.

A de-escalation zone agreed past year for southern Syria was meant to reduce violence, but Israel has not been reassured.

Fars said the location in Syria from which the rockets were supposedly launched, Quneitra, is in part "controlled by rebels and terrorists, and other parts of are controlled by the Syrian army".

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