Israel Launches Major Airstrikes Against Iranian Forces In Syria

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Israel said 20 Iranian Grad and Fajr rockets were shot down by its Iron Dome air defence system or did not reach targets in the Golan, territory it captured from Syria in a 1967 war.

Israel's political and security establishment has been unified and vocal in vowing to thwart Iran's efforts to entrench itself militarily across Israel's northern frontier and to build what Israeli and United States officials refer to as a land corridor from Iran, through Iraq and Syria, to Lebanon.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson condemned Iran's attacks, urged Iran to refrain from further actions that could destabilize the region, and called on Russian Federation to pressure Syria to work toward a broader political settlement.

Iranian analysts said Israel had struck first on Thursday, and that any retaliation was the work of the Syrian military, not Iran.

Reflecting the scope of the pre-dawn attack, Russia's military said 28 Israeli jets were involved, striking Iranian and government sites in Syria with 70 missiles.

In Iran, the news of the fighting was reported as a conflict between Syria and Israel.

"We are not interested in the atomic bomb, but we are increasing our missile capabilities in other fields so that Israel can not sleep well", he was quoted as saying by semi-official ISNA News Agency.

The attack represents Israel's largest assault on Syrian soil since civil war broke out and comes in response to Wednesday night's rocket attack on Israeli positions in the Golan heights by Iran's expeditionary Quds Force.

In a statement published Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said he would embark on a round of worldwide diplomacy to try and save the deal.

"We did not cross Iran's borders", he said.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron called for a de-escalation between the two sides. Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, said four of the rockets were intercepted, while the others fell short of their targets.

"Already this week, the IRGC has fired rockets at Israeli citizens, and Iran's proxies in Yemen have launched a ballistic missile at Riyadh", it said, referring to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.

However, Syrian forces denied the Observatory's report, saying that only three people were killed and two wounded during the raids, which the IDF said was the most extensive strike in Syria in decades. Nevertheless, the north of Israel remains on high alert and security has been increased at Israeli embassies overseas.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Thursday morning that the IDF had destroyed "almost all of Iran's military infrastructure sites in Syria". "We'll put the Iranian genie back in its bottle".

Now Israel is feeling squeezed between south and north by the militia associated with Iran.

Earlier this week, Syrian state media said Israel struck a military outpost near Damascus.

Last month, an attack on Syria's T4 air base in the central Homs province killed seven Iranian military personnel.

The exchange of fire came after weeks of rising tensions and followed US President Donald Trump's decision on Tuesday to withdraw from the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal, a move Israel had long advocated.

"It means we are on a collision course".

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