Published: Mon, May 14, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Iranians killed in Israeli strikes in Syria, says monitor

Iranians killed in Israeli strikes in Syria, says monitor

Israel launched airstrikes against dozens of Iranian targets in Syria on Thursday after Iranian forces fired around 20 rockets into the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights.

The death toll from the strikes has risen to 27, including at least 11 Iranians and six Syrian soldiers, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Israeli military published pictures Friday of what it said was an Iranian Quds Force compound in al-Kisweh, south of Damascus, and an "Iranian logistics compound" 10 kilometers northwest of the capital.

Israel said it destroyed almost all of Iran's military infrastructure in the strikes which were launched in response to 20 missiles fired at the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

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MK Tamar Zandberg, the chairwoman of the left-wing Meretz party, warned on Saturday that Israel must act with caution to avoid a full-blown confrontation in the north, following large-scale Israeli airstrikes in Syria last week, said to have hit some 50 Iranian targets.

Israeli forces have been blamed for a series of recent strikes inside Syria that have killed Iranians, though it has not acknowledged those raids. Israel told Russian Federation about the imminent attack as part of the two countries' ongoing security coordination in Syria.

Iran says Israel's repeated attacks are based on "fabricated" reasons.

Iran has advisers and experts and has backed tens of thousands of militiamen who are fighting alongside Assad's forces in the civil war. Israel considers Iran's ongoing military buildup in Syria to be an unacceptable national security threat.

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"I will take this opportunity to send a message to Assad: Get rid of the Iranians, get rid of Qasem Soleimani and the Quds Force, they are not helping you, they only cause damage, and their presence will only cause problems and damages", Lieberman said. Instead, Israel has fought Iran's ally, Hezbollah, the last time in a 2006 war that saw massive destruction in southern Lebanon and concentrated rocket fire on Israeli cities.

The brief but intense confrontation raised fears the region may be sliding into an unprecedented direct conflict between the two archenemies.

"The holy system of Islamic Republic will step up its missile capabilities day by day so that Israel, this occupying regime, will become sleepless and the nightmare will constantly haunt it that if it does anything foolish, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground", the hard-line cleric said during Friday sermons.

Tehran, meanwhile, is under pressure from the US and Western allies to negotiate a new deal, one that goes beyond restricting the nuclear program to curb Iran's military power in the region.

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Simmering tensions between Israel and Iran escalated this week following President Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States of America out of the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday.

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