Published: Sun, May 13, 2018

Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu says Iran crossed 'red line' with rocket fire

Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu says Iran crossed 'red line' with rocket fire

The targets all belonged to the Quds Force and included intelligence sites, logistics headquarters, a military compound and logistics complex in Kiswah near the Syrian capital of Damascus, weapons storage sites belonging at Damascus International Airport, intelligence systems and installations, as well as observation, military posts and military hardware in the buffer zone.

Israel said it had attacked almost all of Iran's military infrastructure in Syria on Thursday after Iranian forces fired rockets at Israeli-held territory for the first time, in the most extensive military exchange ever between the two adversaries. There were no casualties.

Iran on Friday supported Syria's right to defend itself against aggression from Israel, state TV reported, accusing others of remaining silent over the attacks on Tehran's key regional ally.

On Thursday, Israel launched a wave of attacks on what it called Iranian targets in Syria in response to alleged Iranian attacks that targeted the Israeli-occupied Syrian territory of Golan Heights for the first time.

The confrontation came two days after President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 multinational agreement aimed it curbing Iran's nuclear program.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat in London, Hariri said that both Iran and Israel were "occupying states", adding: "Iran has taken eight measures to establish a foothold in Syria".

For Iran's part, the growing convergence between the Arab monarchies, Israel, and the U.S. - and the rise of American officials with visceral hostility to Tehran - increases the importance of preserving leverage against these adversaries not only in Syria and Lebanon, but also in Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere.

Israel said Iranian fighters had carried out that attack.

The claim of an Iranian attack "is a lie", said Mohammad Javad Jamali Nobandegani, a member of the Iranian parliament's National Security & Foreign Policy Commission, according to the legislature's website.

Yahya Al-Aridi, a Syrian opposition spokesman, told Arab News that Iran lives off its hostility toward Israel and the US.

Israeli officials have expressed disappointment that neither the US nor Russian Federation has committed to prevent the Iranian military from striking root permanently in Syria.

A spokesperson said May condemned the Iranian rocket attacks against Israeli forces and reiterated Downing Street's earlier call on Iran to refrain from any further attacks and for calm on all sides.

In the 39 years since the Islamic revolution ended the decades-old strategic alliance that had existed between Iran and Israel, the two countries have been at undeclared war. A number of those rockets were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome aerial defense system, resulting in bright and sudden explosions.

"But we did say after the (Western) strikes (on Syria) that of course Russian Federation reserved the right to do anything it considered necessary".

Analysts said the Israeli retaliation was meant to signal Tel Aviv's resolve, without allowing the conflict spiral out of control.

"Iranian forces will need months to recover from the strikes", Manelis told Israeli army radio.

Both leaders were said to agree it was "vital for the worldwide community to continue working together to counter Iran's destabilizing regional activity, and for Russian Federation to use its influence in Syria to prevent further Iranian attacks".

Israel annexed the Golan Heights in 1981 after capturing it from Syria in the Six Day War in 1967.

Mr Qasemi said the attacks were an attempt by worldwide supporters of rebel groups fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to shore them up after their "many failures" and to try to "tip the scales in their favour". The incoming attack set off air raid sirens in the Golan.

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