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World Despite blowback over Syrian strike, some Israelis say more military action needed

23:05  10 april  2018
23:05  10 april  2018 Source:   msn.com

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Israeli officials have taken official responsibility for very few of those strikes . But Israel has made clear that it will take action to prevent Hezbollah, a That strike came after Israel downed an Iranian drone that strayed into its territory. In that same incident, an Israeli F-16 fighter jet crashed under Syrian

BEIRUT — Missile strikes at two Iran-linked bases in Syria caused huge explosions and killed dozens of pro-government fighters, a monitoring group said Monday, in an attack seen as Israel ’s latest blow in a Despite blowback over Syrian strike , some Israelis say more military action needed .

a fighter jet sitting on a runway© Provided by WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post JERUSALEM — Israel received stiff warnings Tuesday from Russia and Iran after allegedly carrying out an airstrike a day earlier on a military base in Syria, killing Iranian personnel stationed there.

But even as Israel was being criticized for the raid, some security officials have been calling for a more aggressive approach in Syria aimed at preventing Iran and its proxy militia Hezbollah from expanding their influence there and their ability to menace Israel.

In Moscow, Israel’s ambassador, Gary Koren, was summoned to a meeting to discuss the episode with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, the state Interfax news agency said. Alexander Sherin, chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee, called Israel’s action “evil and unfriendly.”

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Medics say more than 500 people have been killed since the government intensified its bombardment nine days ago in an attempt to retake the enclave. The World Health Organization said it had a list of more than 1,000 critically sick and wounded people who urgently needed to be evacuated.

Syria said Israeli jets attacked several military sites near the capital Damascus and the central city of Homs early Monday, killing several people. State news agency SANA said that Syrian air defense had intercepted several of the incoming missiles that were fired from Lebanese airspace.

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Russia’s Defense Ministry had earlier accused Israel of the attack and detailed how the operation was carried out, and Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Russian military advisers could have been present at the base, Reuters reported.

Israeli analysts and commentators said the harsh tone of the Russian response appeared to be designed to signal to Israel that its previous freedom in carrying out military action in Syria might no longer be acceptable. Russia has been playing a decisive role in Syria’s war, lending crucial support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Israel has neither confirmed nor denied it was behind the pre-dawn raid Monday, widely attributed to Israeli F-15 fighter jets, on the T-4 air base, outside of Palmyra in northern Syria.

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An Israeli missile strike has caused a large explosion and fire at a military site near Damascus international airport, Syrian state media report. But Syrian rebel sources said an arms depot run by Lebanon's Hezbollah movement, which is fighting in Syria as an ally of the government, was hit.

The Syrian military said Israel on Wednesday launched raids on an industrial zone in the northern Other strikes hit the vicinity of Nairab military airport on the outskirts of Aleppo in the second such strike Iranian- backed Shi’ite militias have expanded their control over mainly Sunni areas around

Iran’s Tasnim News Agency reported Tuesday that seven Iranians were killed in the strike. Their bodies were brought to Tehran for burial, it said.

Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called Israel’s actions a “crime” and said it “will not remain without a response,” Lebanese news channel Al Mayadeen reported.

Over recent years, Israel has carried out scores of airstrikes against Hezbollah weapons convoys and the group’s infrastructure in Syria and Lebanon, according to regional media reports and local analysts.

Israeli officials have taken official responsibility for very few of these strikes. But Israel has made clear that it will take action to prevent Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite militia backed by Iran, from using Syria as a springboard for attacks against Israel and to block Iran from transferring weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

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The Israeli military said its aircraft struck a number of targets in southern Syria belonging to the Syrian military on Monday in relation to a failed attack on Israeli territory “Hezbollah needs to know that it’s playing with fire,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said following last week’s incident.

Moscow says Syria ’s Soviet-era systems downed majority of US, UK and French missiles. The Russian military has claimed that the Syrian air defences, whose most modern weapon is a Syria claimed to have intercepted suspected Israeli missiles fired on a base earlier this month, while an

More recently, Israel’s leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have also spoken about preventing their enemy Iran from establishing a permanent presence in Syria and from creating a corridor of Iranian influence spanning from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea.

Until now, however, Israel has largely avoided being drawn into the seven-year-long Syrian civil war on its northeastern border.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Tuesday that security officials are increasingly pushing for a more determined effort to stop Iran from expanding in Syria. Military chief Gadi Eisenkot told reporters recently that “the final and desired situation is the removal of all Iranian-Shi’ite forces from Syria,” the paper reported. “We won’t let them get near the borders.”

Yaakov Amidror, a retired major general and a former national security adviser to Netanyahu, said that if Iran continued to extend its influence, this would lead to a direct confrontation.

“Israel’s policy is clear; it will not allow the Iranians to build military facilities in Syria,” Amidror said in an interview.

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Two months ago, Israel acknowledged carrying out an attack on Iranian targets in the T-4 air base. That strike came after Israel downed an Iranian drone that strayed into its territory. In that same incident, an Israeli F-16 fighter jet crashed under Syrian antiaircraft fire.

“There are two colliding trends, the first being that Iran is growing bolder as highlighted by the sending of a drone to Israel in February,” said Michael Horowitz, a senior analyst at Le Beck International, a Middle East-based geopolitical and security consultancy. “The second trend is Israel's feeling that neither Washington nor Moscow are willing to do anything about it, which in turn forces Israel to take additional risks.”

Horowitz said that the Iranian presence at the T-4 base included members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Quds Force, who sent the drone and “hence directly and actively threatened Israel.”

“By striking the base once again, Israel sends the message that Russia simply cannot ignore this trend, both because of the risks it implies, and because Russian and Iranian soldiers are physically working a few feet away from each other,” he said.

The increase in regional tensions comes as President Trump has announced his intention to pull back U.S. troops from Syria, a move some in Israel fear would leave it in a precarious position.

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“The State of Israel does not have a world power today that it can rely on to confront the Iranian expansion,” Alex Fishman wrote Tuesday in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. “It only remains for it to operate militarily and independently to curb the Iranian foothold in Syria, in the hope that its military activity will not devolve into an overall confrontation.”

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