Israeli attacks on Syria meant to prop up terrorists: Iran

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov

"Reports about last night's Iranian attacks against Israeli army posts from inside Syria, to which Israel responded by striking against Iranian targets in Syria, are extremely worrying", said a spokeswoman for the bloc's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini.

The White House also condemned Iran's "provocative attack" in a statement, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying Iran has deployed into Syria "offensive rocket and missile systems aimed at Israel". "I repeat: Whoever hurts us - we will hurt them sevenfold, and whoever is preparing to hurt us - we will act to hit them first".

Reiterating a demand voiced by Israel in the past months, Netanyahu urged the worldwide community "to prevent Iran's al-Quds Force from entrenching itself in Syria".

"If we get rain, then they will get a flood", the defense minister said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran had "crossed a red line", and that his country's action was appropriate.

Embittered by the U.S. administration's withdrawal from the nuclear deal and Israel's destruction of much of its military infrastructure in Syria, but emboldened by the Assad regime troops gaining ground in the country's civil war and Hezbollah's recent gains in the Lebanese elections, the Islamic Republic seems unlikely to relent in its campaign to attack the Jewish State.

The Israeli blitz came after Iranian forces fired 20 rockets at the Golan Heights, causing little damage but no casualties.

"The Zionist regime's repeated attacks on Syrian soil under self-proclaimed, baseless pretexts amount to a blatant violation of Syria's sovereignty and goes against all worldwide conventions", Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said in an early Friday statement.

Washington has no intention, Peek made plain, to take concrete steps to rein in Iran's effort to entrench itself militarily near Israel's border.

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But analysts based in Tehran deny Iran is seeking direct conflict with Israel.

In a statement, the White House said Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps bears responsibility for "reckless actions" and called on that force as well as its proxies, including Hizbollah, to make no additional provocations.

Iran is one of the most powerful backers of Syria's president, Bashar Assad.

That deployment "is an unacceptable and highly unsafe development for the entire Middle East", she said. "Israel must realize that the situation has changed and aggression would not go unanswered", the official emphasized. "These matters are very important to Israel's security at all times and especially at this time", he said. The Russian defence ministry, whose country has forces in Syria supporting the regime, said 28 Israeli warplanes took part in the raids and around 70 missiles were fired.

If confirmed, the incident would be the first time Iran had sought to directly attack Israeli-controlled territory aside from an alleged attempted drone attack in February.

Israel might attack airports in Lebanon, Syria and even Iraq to prevent the movement of Iranian troops and equipment.

"Iran's enemies can only be inspired by this decision: there is a very strong anti-Iranian sentiment", Lukyanov said.

Israel, however, has been emboldened by President Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal earlier this week, and the latest escalation seemed to signal a potentially coordinated surge in military activity targeting Iran.

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