Israel bombs Iranian targets in Syria as retaliation against rocket attacks

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov

The decision for the USA to pull out of the deal, promoted by Israel, sparked uproar in the Middle East, as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ordered the country to prepare to boost uranium at "industrial levels".

Israel said the bombardment on Thursday was in retaliation for Iranian rocket fire on its positions in the occupied Golan Heights. Hours later, Israeli rocket rockets targeted a military base in Kisweh, a commander in the pro-Syrian government regional alliance said.

An image grab from a video broadcast on May 10 by Syria's official TV allegedly shows Syrian air defense systems intercepting Israeli missiles over Syrian airspace.

"The Iranian regime's deployment into Syria of offensive rocket and missile systems aimed at Israel is an unacceptable and highly risky development for the entire Middle East", White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

The series of airstrikes came immediately on the heels of a rocket attack on Israel's Golan Heights by Iranian forces operating out of southern Syria.

Expectations of a regional flare-up were stoked by U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement on Tuesday that he was withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear deal. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, on a visit to Moscow on Wednesday, told President Vladimir Putin that Iran is bent on destroying his country, and appealed for Russian help to keep Tehran from using Syria as a launch pad.

"Get rid of the Iranians and we can, perhaps, change our mode of life here", he said.

Israel "views this Iranian attack very severely", Conricus told reporters. What is Moscow's stance?

By the way, guess who isn't joining Europe in calling for restraint from both sides?

The Israeli raids in Syria, which a monitor said killed 23 fighters, were one of the largest Israeli military operations in recent years and the biggest such assault on Iranian targets, the Israeli military said. The pan-Arab Al Hayat newspaper reported Thursday that Russian Federation and Israel were developing an agreement to keep Iran out of southern Syria and allow Syrian government forces to retake the region. Israel has warned that it will not allow Iran to establish a permanent military presence in Syria.

Can Europe do any more than wring its hands? They see it rightly as an act of war, and they also rightly see that war doesn't require "proportionality".

France has stepped up its criticism of the United States. Zarif accused the United States and its allies of fomenting unrest in the Middle East, "turning our region into a powder keg through their sale of hundreds of billions of dollars of useless advanced weaponry".

President Emmanuel Macron of France fears the former.

Le Drian has condemned the USA move to re-impose sanctions on companies trading with Iran as "unacceptable".

Merkel spelt out the new challenges for Europe in her speech in Aachen, acknowledging that a common European foreign policy was "still in its infancy".

Although slogans of "Death to America" were few, many Iranians are sincerely angry over the USA decision to withdraw from the deal and are siding with hard-liners who long have warned to be suspicious of the West. Instead, Europe has to take its destiny into its own hands.

But she also said: "If everybody does what they like, then this is bad news for the world".

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