Israel kills 11 Iranians in Syria

Hugh Fox
May 13, 2018

The statement came after Iranian forces in Syria were accused by Israel of launching some 20 missiles at Israel, prompting Israeli strikes against positions held by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) inside Syria.

The strikes dramatically ramped up tensions in the region days after US President Donald Trump announced a withdrawal from an global deal that had aimed at easing tensions between Iran and the West.

Syria blamed Israel for the Wednesday strikes that hit near the capital.

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Israel has long warned it will not accept Iran entrenching itself militarily in neighbouring Syria, where Tehran has deployed forces to support the government of President Bashar al-Assad in the country's seven-year civil war.

The phone calls came a few days after US President Donald Trump defied protests and last-minute lobbying by his European partners and unilaterally made a decision to withdraw from the historic nuclear accord, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and impose new sanctions on Tehran.

The United States has said that despite its withdrawal from the nuclear accord, it wants inspections by the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to continue in Iran. Israel however, which has always been concerned about Iranian influence in the Middle East welcomed Trump's decision.

Iran says it is ready to restart its nuclear programme on an "industrial scale".

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The Syrian ambassador to China says Damascus will not "hesitate" to avenge Israeli attacks, stressing the nation's right to self-defense against any act of aggression.

It added that 28 Israeli fighter jets launched at least 60 missiles in Syria.

That is despite Israel's claims it struck dozens of Iranian targets inside Syria early on Thursday as part of "Operation House of Cards".

Trump spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, and "both leaders condemned the Iranian regime's provocative rocket attacks from Syria", the White House said.

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