Region On Edge As Israel Strikes in Syria


Iranian forces based in Syria fired 20 rockets at Israeli front-line military positions in the Golan Heights early on Thursday, the Israeli military said, triggering an Israeli reprisal and escalating already heightened tensions in what appeared to be the most serious violence in years.

"At approximately 10 minutes past midnight, forces belonging to the Iranian Quds fired approximately 20 projectiles, majority are probably rockets but that is yet to be determined, towards the forward line of (Israeli) positions in the Golan Heights".

A map posted online by the Israel Defense Forces showing what they say are Iranian positions they struck.

The violence comes two days after President Donald Trump, encouraged by Israel, said the USA would quit Iran's nuclear agreement and reinstate sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

United States president Donald Trump's announcement on Tuesday that the USA was withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran has triggered uncertainty and threatened to spark more unrest in the Middle East.

Following the rockets, Israel launched a massive air raid, striking some 50 sites in Syria.

On Middle East relations, referring to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States: "It's time for the moderate countries in the Middle East to come out of the closet, speak openly ... we need an Axis of moderate countries". Syria and Iran have accused Israel of carrying out a series of airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria in recent weeks.

Israel claimed that the Iranian strikes on its territory caused no injuries or damage.

Israel's military launched a barrage of missile strikes on Iranian targets based in Syria early Thursday morning, a massive retaliation in an ongoing conflict between the two bitter enemies. The IDF said several rockets were intercepted and there were no casualties.

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The agreement - between Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany - imposed curbs on Iranian nuclear activities in return for the lifting of global sanctions.

On 8 April, Israeli missiles are alleged to have hit an airbase in Homs province - reportedly serving as an Iranian drone command centre and containing an advanced Iranian air defence system - killing seven Iranian personnel.

"The meetings between us are always important and this one is especially so", Netanyahu said ahead of his departure.

He said none of the Iranian rockets struck inside Israeli-held territory, and they either fell short or were shot down by Israeli defences.

President Donald Trump's announcement on Tuesday to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal has additionally precipitated tensions to rise.

"This is a direct action by Iran against the force of Israel", he told Newshub.

Israel "views this Iranian attack very severely", he told reporters. "They are determined to do it and we are determined to prevent it".

Mr Netanyahu has been instrumental in urging Mr Trump to end his support for the nuclear agreement with Iran.