Who Retaliated? Israel And Iran Engage In Direct Armed Conflict

Before Iran allegedly launched a rocket attack on the occupied Golan Heights, Syrian state-run media claimed Israel hit Iranian targets near Damascus, killing nine Iranian troops.

Israeli soldiers

Iran and Israel appear to be engaged in direct exchange of fire for the first time in decades.

Israel accused Iran of directly attacking its territory in Israeli-occupied Golan Heights for the first time in history.

Later, Israel launched what is now being called "the most extensive strike in Syria" in years.

A lot of publications have reported Israel "retaliated" in response to the shelling by Iran.

However, it is important to note before the alleged attack on Golan Heights, Syrian state-run media claimed Israel hit an Iran-linked military site near Damascus, killing nine Iranian troops.

“Nine fighters belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps or pro-Iranian Shiite militias have been killed” Rami Abd el-Rahman, director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.

This occurred just hours after U.S. President Donald Trump announced a withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, a decision that was hailed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Since Israel does not comment on airstrikes in Syria, it is not known if the U.S. withdraw from the deal had anything to with the reported attack on the Iranian site near Damascus. The only statement that came from the Israeli military was that it witnessed “abnormal movements of Iranian forces in Syria."

Also, Israeli forces attacking suspected Iranian military sites in Syria is not a new phenomenon. They have been doing it for years.

Though it has almost never acknowledged the attacks, Israel has struck several sites in the war-torn region merely on the basis of suspicion Tehran might be delivering missiles to pro-Iranian Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Oddly, world powers, including the United States and Britain, never held Israel accountable for the aggressive strikes in Syria.

The only thing different this time around is that Iran has responded by directly attacking Israel's military, allegedly lobbing 20 rockets at Golan Heights. Four were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome defense system while others exploded in Syria.

Predictably, Israel responded by launching another attack, hitting "nearly all of Iran's military infrastructure in Syria," killing at least killed at least 23 military personnel, including Syrians and non-Syrians.

Almost immediately, Britain condemned Iran's attacks on Israel and called on Russia to use its influence in Syria to stop further escalation, Reuters reported, citing a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May.

"We condemn Iran's attack on Israel. Israel has every right to defend itself," the spokesman told reporters. "We call on Iran to refrain from any further attacks and for calm on all sides. We call on Russia to use its influence in Syria to prevent further Iranian attacks."

Meanwhile, Britain made no comment on the Israeli attack near Damascus that allegedly killed nine people.

Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters

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