Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Calls for restraint after Israeli raids on 'Iranians' in Syria

Calls for restraint after Israeli raids on 'Iranians' in Syria

Iran has not commented on the exchange of fire.

Netanyahu spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May on the phone on Thursday evening.

"Whoever hits us will get hit seven times over". She said: "We know that we face an extremely complicated situation here".

According to the United Kingdom government's readout of the conversation, May called for "calm on all sides".

Israel says it struck dozens of Iranian targets overnight in response to a rocket barrage on Israeli positions in the Golan Heights.

The IDF said four rockets were intercepted by the Israeli Iron Dome aerial defence system, while 16 fell short of their targets. Israel responded by attacking anti-aircraft positions in Syria, and an Israeli warplane was shot down during the battle.

Lieberman told the Herzliya Conference, an annual security gathering north of Tel Aviv, that "if it rains on us it will be a flood on them". "I hope we've finished this episode and everyone understood", Lieberman added, stressing that Israel doesn't want an escalation, but "won't let anyone attack us or build an infrastructure to attack us in the future".

Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus told reporters the Iranian attack was "commanded and ordered by (Quds Force chief General) Qassem Soleimani and it has not achieved its purpose".

On Tuesday the Israeli military claimed to have identified "irregular activity" by Iranian forces in Syria, and instructed civic authorities on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights to ready bomb shelters.

On Wednesday night, state-run Sana TV, in southern Syria, carried reports that Israel had fired several missiles at the city of Baath in Quneitra, none of which resulted in casualties.

Israel's military says Iranian forces based in neighboring Syria fired about 20 projectiles at Israeli positions in the Golan Heights. It was the biggest Israeli strike in Syria since the 1973 war. The IDF released a map showing a list of targets it said it hit.

Both Russia and Iran have provided crucial military support to Assad's forces.

The Israelis fear that Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah are turning Syria into a new front against them.

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Russian Federation says the Israeli strikes on Iranian facilities in Syria have marked a unsafe escalation, urging both Israel and Iran to avoid provoking each other.

But in the past few weeks, Israel has shifted to a more direct and public confrontation with Iran, striking at Iranian bases, weapons depots and rocket launchers across Syria, and killing Iranian troops.

US President Donald Trump's abandonment on Tuesday of a landmark worldwide deal to curb Iran's nuclear programme - an agreement fiercely opposed by Mr Netanyahu - has certainly raised tensions. "However, if the Syrian military acts against us, we will act against it".

The clashes will eventually likely lead not to further escalation, but to the "consolidation of new "red lines" tacitly endorsed by Israel and Iran", he said in an analysis written for the Carnegie Middle East Center.

- Syria shelled northern Israel from the Golan Heights between 1948 and 1967.

In the end, the US, UK, and France all condemned Iran for its missile attack on Israel without mentioning Israeli incursions into Syria to strike Iranians. But Israel and Russian Federation have maintained close communications to prevent their air forces from coming into conflict. "We need to unite to dismember the arm of the evil that is spreading itself in every place", he said. It says Israel also fired over 10 tactical surface-to-surface missiles.

In February, Israel shot down what it said was an armed Iranian drone that entered Israeli airspace.

What exactly happened on Thursday?

On Wednesday, Netanyahu met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Victory Day, which marks the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany.

In a bilateral meeting after the celebrations, Netanyahu said that Israel has the "obligation and right to defend itself against Iranian aggression, from Syrian territory". But it seemed to carefully calibrate its response by targeting the Golan Heights, which Israel annexed in 1981 in a move that is not internationally recognized, instead of striking Israel proper. Within Iran, it could empower hardliners while weakening the moderate camp that has sought better relations with the West.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow sees Thursday's strikes as a "very alarming development".

Israel has long warned it will not accept Iran entrenching itself militarily in neighbouring Syria, where the Islamic republic is supporting President Bashar al-Assad's regime in the civil war. He also took aim at the U.S., saying the Russians "know that the agenda of the deep state in the United States is to create a conflict".

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