Israeli army warns Iran against raising tensions

  10 May 2018    Read: 1250
Israeli army warns Iran against raising tensions

The Israeli army on Thursday blamed Tehran for provoking an overnight raid on Iranian positions in Syria with a salvo at the Golan Heights under Israeli control, but said it did not want an escalation.

"We remain on high alert and vigilant, and we monitor Iranian activity in Syria," military spokesman Jonathan Conricus told reporters. "We do not want to escalate the situation, but we will respond to a new Iranian attack, we are ready to give a powerful response. We caution the Iranians against it."

Meanwhile, the Israeli Defense Forces informed Russia of the planned airstrikes on Syria in retaliation for an Iranian salvo, a military spokesman said.

"The Russians were informed prior to the attack through the existing mechanism," Israel's Jonathan Conricus told reporters at a briefing on Thursday.

The military communication channel was set up between Israel and Russia in fall 2015 to prevent erroneous engagements in Syria.

Israeli warplanes raided Iranian positions in Syria overnight, firing dozens of rockets into the Syrian territory in response to a barrage of Iranian rockets, the Israeli army said Thursday.

"The Israeli Defense Forces attacked tens of military targets belonging to Iran's al-Quds militia in the Syrian territory," the military said in a statement.

The Israeli army said all jets that took part in the raids had returned to their bases. The Iranian salvo that prompted Israeli retaliation did not cause any casualties, it added.

"All our planes safely returned to the bases… The Iranian attack did not cause any losses or material damage," the statement read.

The attack destroyed an Iranian military camp north of the Syrian capital, arms depots at the Damascus airport, and a car-mounted mobile launcher that was used to strike at Israeli positions near the border with Syria, the army said.

Moreover, Israeli planes targeted Syrian anti-aircraft batteries that fired at them during the overnight raid on Iranian positions in Syria, the Israeli army said.

"Planes encountered intense artillery fire. They were targeted with tens of rockets that fell short of their target," Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus told reporters.

The Israeli Defense Force said it retaliated against Iranian militia in southwestern Syria after they fired a salvo of some 20 rockets at Israeli frontline positions in the occupied Golan Heights.

Conricus said Syrians had ignored demands by the IDF to stop the artillery fire and allow the air raid against Iranian targets to go ahead. He identified the attacked air defense systems as SA-5, SA-2, SA-22 and SA-17, using NATO code names.

IDF Spokesman added that the alleged Iranian strike from Syria has proved that Iran posed a threat to Israel and regional stability. IDF representative noted that Israeli army would not allow the "Iranian threat to establish itself in Syria" and would hold Syria accountable for any future provocations.

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