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Israeli-Iranian conflict risks Russian involvement

13 May 2018

Just one hour after Donald Trump violated the Iran nuclear deal on May 8, Israel launched missiles against targets south of Damascus, Syria, reportedly killing 15 people, at least 8 of them Iranians.

Israel said Thursday its fighter jets struck dozens of Iranian military targets inside of Syria overnight in response to the attacks.

Netanyahu, who has backed Trump's decision on Iran, Israel's arch-foe, said after the meeting that he shared his "views on issues that include Iran's secret nuclear archive" and the "current tension" with the Russian leader.

Israel has been on high alert in recent days after Iran threatened retaliation for a series of airstrikes on its military positions inside Syria last month that killed at least seven Iranians. Here, Trump's decision to withdraw from the deal, immediately followed by Israel's strike on Damascus, is rushing into a conflict that could easily bring Russian Federation and the United States into direct conflict, risking drawn-out, bloody proxy attacks further tumbling the Syrian crisis beyond solution.

Iranian forces in Syria have sent rockets hurdling towards army bases in the Golan Heights, across the border in Israel, according to reports.

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Israel's strikes on Syria saw 28 planes take part in raids with a total of around 70 missiles fired, Russia's defence ministry said on Thursday. He said Israel had responded, but did not provide details.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that Israel would be victorious in its "ongoing campaign" against Iran. "Get rid of the Iranians and we can, perhaps, change our mode of life here", he said. Aside from the mounting military tensions between Iran and Israel, oil prices are rising on the uncertainty.

Israel has warned it will not tolerate its archenemy Iran establishing a military presence on its doorstep.

At the same time, the government said it has tasked the president of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran with "taking all necessary steps in preparation for Iran to pursue industrial-scale enrichment without any restrictions".

An Israeli soldiers stands on Mount Bental in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights on May 10, 2018.

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Tehran and its allied Shi'ite Muslim militias back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In response, the army attacked five Syrian antiaircraft batteries and destroyed them all. Advisers from Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, as well as trainers, commanders and experts, are stationed in military bases across the country. The U.S. embassy in Israel ordered government employees to obtain advance approval for any travel to the Golan, a strategic plateau Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East War. "So they see themselves as a united front against an Iran that really does want to dominate the Middle East", Mitchell explains.

On Wednesday, a powerful Iraqi paramilitary group with links to Iran said Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal would "ignite the region".

The Iranian government is warning that it will take "whatever reciprocal measures it deems expedient" if it is not fully compensated for the USA withdrawal from the nuclear agreement as provided for in the accord.

The United Nations, Western nations and Saudi Arabia say Iran supplies the Houthis with long-range missiles capable of reaching Riyadh.

Trump, May condemn Iran rocket attacks on Israel - White House
The attack on the Golan Heights - an Israeli occupied region of Syria - is the first time Iran has hit Israel from Syria. Israel is hoping to highlight the fact that Iran's scarce resources are being wasted on foreign military adventures.

"Even with the best intention, nobody can bring Iran and Israel to the same table", said Malashenko.

Israeli-Iranian conflict risks Russian involvement