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Syria: Iran says Israeli strikes 'violation of sovereignty'

13 May 2018

Iran has not claimed responsibility for the rocket fire.

Israel said the strikes it carried out against Iranian assets inside Syria on Thursday were retaliation for an Iranian rocket barrage on its positions in the Golan Heights, the disputed territory between Syria and Israel. Oil prices rose while Israel's currency and stock markets gained.

"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. In Iraq, two powerful political alliances expected to win seats in parliamentary elections Sunday also maintain strong ties to Iran.

According to the United Nations official, the secretary-general "followed with utmost concern" reports of missile launches from Syria targeting Israeli positions and retaliatory strikes by the Israel Defense Forces.

US President Donald Trump's rejection of an accord curbing Iran's nuclear activities and the escalation in hostilities between Iran and Israel that followed herald a new strategic dynamic in the Middle East that has heightened fears of greater conflict.

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"We call on Iran to refrain from any further attacks and for calm on all sides". Iran's leaders have called for Israel's elimination ever since the Iranian revolution in 1979, when religious hardliners came to power.

On Thursday, Israel claimed it had struck nearly all of Iran's military capabilities in Syria after the rocket attack on the Golan Heights, which Israel annexed in 1981.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman sought to calm concerns that the major escalation along a highly volatile frontier was the opening salvo in a wider war. "This is what we have done and this is what we will continue to do", he added. "We have no desire to escalate". Iran has neither directly confirmed or denied this but has said that Israel's attacks on Syria were founded "on self-proclaimed, baseless pretexts". While there have been many incidents involving Iranian proxies like the terrorist group Hezbollah attacking Israel, this was the first direct attack by Iran on the Jewish state. It was also a rare acknowledgement of an Israeli assault.

"We will not allow Iran to entrench itself in Syria".

In February, Israel reported that an armed Iranian drone flew into its airspace, which it shot down.

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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.

In a rare public gesture by an Arab government, Bahrain expressed its support for the Israeli air raids.

He added that Syria has the right to defend itself "against the aggressors". The worldwide community's silence encourages Israel's aggression.

But the chairman of Iran's parliamentary committee on foreign affairs condemned Israel for carrying out the strikes in Syria. Hours later, state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV broadcast a live feed of Syrian air defences firing into the sky above the capital, and loud explosions and air defence firing were heard through the night. Israel responded with a blistering wave of missile strikes early Thursday.

The Israeli government rarely confirms individual strikes, and the Syrian government and Hezbollah do not always acknowledge when they have been hit. It said it intercepted most of the Israeli missiles.

Haaretz did not identify the Israeli officials with whom it had spoken.

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A few weeks ago, Bolton said of the Syrian conflict: "Iran was thinking of the next possible conflict and we were not". But Tzachi Hanegbi, a cabinet minister close to Netanyahu, cautioned that more confrontation could come.

Syria: Iran says Israeli strikes 'violation of sovereignty'