Military tensions between Iranian and Israeli forces escalated dramatically this week, punctuated by an emphatic response Thursday by the Israeli Defense Force to air strikes from Syria the previous day.
Fox News reported that Iranian forces based in Syria launched about 20 rockets on Wednesday aimed at Israeli military targets located in the Golan Heights region.
About an hour ago, IDF defense systems identified approximately 20 rockets that the Iranian Quds forces launched at IDF forward posts on the Golan Heights
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 9, 2018
Though there were no injuries associated with the bombardment, the IDF made it clear that the nation intended to respond with a strike of its own.
A spokesman for the military force called Wednesday’s air strike “the most severe attempt” yet by Al Quds fighters trained by Iran to stage a successful attack on Israel.
According to Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, Israel’s missile defense system was able to intercept four incoming rockets while the others missed their intended target.
The escalation marks the first time the Iranian force launched a strike on Israel from within Syria.
An IDF press release made it clear that the nation “will not allow the Iranian threat to establish itself in Syria.”
Citing the potential for “a wide variety of scenarios” in response, the military statement paved the way for a massive retaliatory strike on Thursday that reportedly killed at least 23 fighters, according to the U.K. Sun.
“The Syrian regime will be held accountable for everything happening in its territory,” the IDF said in its press release.
Israeli forces launched missiles at strategic locations in Syria, including the launcher from which the previous day’s Al Quds strike originated. Syrian sources claimed that the nation’s defense system was able to intercept “the large part” of the incoming Israeli missiles.
According to sources in Israel, however, the 70-missile strike was a success and hit each of its intended targets.
Tensions in the region spiked following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to back out of the 2015 agreement with Iran over Iran’s nuclear development program. Furthermore, Iranian forces cited Israel as the source of a missile strike on Tuesday that reportedly left 15 dead.
A number of world leaders have come to Israel’s defense in the wake of Wednesday’s strike and the subsequent IDF response, however.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has expressed condemnation of the Iranian attack and has implored Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene.
“Israel has a right to defend itself,” a May spokesperson said. “We call on Iran to refrain from any further attacks and for calm on all sides. We call on Russia to use its influence in Syria to prevent further Iranian attacks.”
A statement from the White House similarly condemned the “provocative rocket attack” against Israel and supported the IDF’s right to retaliate.
“The Iranian regime’s deployment into Syria of offensive rocket and missile systems aimed at Israel is an unacceptable and highly dangerous development for the entire Middle East.”
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