Israeli air strikes killed 11 Iranians in Syria this week: Monitor

  • Israeli air strikes killed 11 Iranians in Syria this week: Monitor

Israeli air strikes killed 11 Iranians in Syria this week: Monitor

Israel launched air strikes against Iranian positions in Syria, prompting Iranian forces to fire a barrage of missiles at Israeli positions on the Golan Heights, which in turn triggered Israeli air strikes against over 50 Iranian military targets, killing at least 23 Syrian and "foreign" personnel, most of whom were likely Iranian.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that the counterattack decimated Iran's entire military infrastructure in Syria.

With the progress of the Syrian army and its allies on the ground, which has apparently sparked Israel's fears, the Jewish country increased its attacks, repeatedly warning that the Iranian military presence in Syria won't be tolerated.

"We hit almost all the Iranian infrastructure in Syria", said Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, in a rare Israeli acknowledgment of strikes in Syria.

Israeli officials on Friday admitted responsibility for attacking a military airbase in Syria's Homs province last month that left seven Iranian soldiers dead, Israeli daily Haaretz reported Friday.

"Repeated attacks on Syrian territory constitute a blatant violation of the country's national sovereignty", Iran's Mehr news agency quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying.

Russia, which is also an ally of Assad, said on Thursday that Syria had shot down more than half of the missiles fired at it overnight by Israel. It was the most serious military confrontation between the two bitter enemies to date.

But rhetoric has reached fever pitch in recent days since Iran and Israeli traded salvos of missiles on Thursday - the first direct military confrontation since the start of the Syrian civil war.

U.N. Secretary-General Guterres is urging an immediate halt to "all hostile acts" to avoid "a new conflagration" in the Middle East after Israeli forces bombed Iranian targets inside Syria.

The Security Council, deeply divided over Syria, is highly unlikely to issue a statement and as of Friday morning no council member has asked for a meeting. Soleimani is the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's elite Quds expeditionary force which is fighting in both Iraq and Syria.

The rising tension in Syria came just as the United States made a decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and impose new sanctions, adding to the pressure on Tehran.

Although the attack on the Golan Heights comes just after Trump announced the ending of US involvement in the Iran nuclear deal, officials from Israel have downplayed an alleged link.

Thousands later demonstrated across the country to protest Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

After Trump announced the US withdrawal from the deal on Tuesday, Rouhani warned that Iran would resume uranium enrichment at an even higher rate if the accord collapses. The worshippers chanted: "Death to America", and "Death to Israel".

Tehran's strong support for the Assad regime in Syria has allowed for the proliferation of Iran-backed military outposts near the border with Israel.

Opposition fighters and their families left Babila, Beit Sahem and Yalda, three southern suburbs that were held by rebels for years, Syrian state media and a war monitor said.

"At least 27 pro-regime fighters were killed" in Thursday's strikes, director of the Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdel Rahman said.