Iran's ballistic missile strike targeting the Islamic State group in Syria served both as revenge for attacks on Tehran earlier this month and a warning that Iran could strike Saudi Arabia and US interests in the Mideast, an Iranian general said Monday. Those forces, which are aligned with the U.S.in the campaign against the Islamic State group, warned Syrian government troops to stop their attacks or face retaliation. Iranian leaders have accused Saudi Arabia of involvement in the twin attacks, which Riyadh denies.
Sharif told The Associated Press that the missile launch reflected Iran's "military power", though Iran has no intention of starting another war.
Shiite-majority Iran and Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia have always been embroiled in a sectarian feud.
Sunday's assault marked an extremely rare direct attack from the Iran amid its support for embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad.
A Daesh weapons and munitions cache in northern Dayr al-Zawr was "precisely struck and completely annihilated", the statement said, adding that several tanks, military vehicles and suicide cars and a huge number of long-range missiles were destroyed.
The Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, recently said on social media that the country's missiles are there to protect the people, saying that it is "lawful self-defense" and indicating that the regime's goal is to eradicate terrorist threats.
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It said that the mid-range missiles of the IRGC were launched from the Iranian western provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdistan provinces, Xinhua news agency reported.
The IRGC said the attack, the first of its kind in Iran, was in response to an IS-claimed terrorist operation which claimed the lives of 18 Iranians in Tehran earlier this month.
"The coalition's mission is to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria", a statement from the US -led coalition fighting ISIS in Syria said.
"Drones flying from near Damascus to Deir Ezzor transmitted (footage of) missiles hitting their targets", he said.
Analysts were saying that the Iranian missile launches were as much a message to the United States and Israel as they were to ISIS. Former IRGC commander Mohsen Rezaei, who is now secretary of the Expediency Council, tweeted, "There are bigger strikes upcoming".
"Those elements are there certainly, as we know", he said, without elaborating on the groups he was referring to. Wahhabism is the hallmark of many terrorist groups operating in the Middle East, including the medieval Islamic State and Al Qaeda.
A spokesman for Australia's defence department confirmed strike operations in Syria have temporarily ceased.
"[The] flagrant attack was an attempt to undermine the efforts of the army as the only effective force capable with its allies ... in fighting terrorism across its territory", the Syrian army said.