Israel calls on Syria's Assad to 'get rid' of Iranian forces


Israel's army said it had carried out widespread raids against Iranian targets in Syria overnight after rocket fire towards its forces which it blamed on Iran, marking a sharp escalation between the two enemies.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that the counterattack decimated Iran's entire military infrastructure in Syria. He says Israeli attacks on Syria under "fabricated and baseless excuses" is a breach of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.

Israeli officials have said that 80,000 Shiite fighters in Syria are under Iranian control, including forces of Lebanon's Hezbollah and Iraqi and Afghan fighters.

Two nights of Israeli airstrikes on military facilities in Syria killed 42 people, including at least 19 Iranians, a Syria war monitor said Saturday.

The war of words followed the worst face-off to date between Israel and Iran.

The Golan Heights are Syrian territory occupied by Israel in 1967 and annexed in 1981.

Iranian officials and their allies have spoken of securing a corridor from Iran to Lebanon, through Syria and Iraq. "Second, such a strike can provoke more large-scale strikes from Israel and affect negatively the talks with European countries regarding the nuclear deal with Iran", Lyamin continued.

Yoav Galant, Israel's housing minister, has accused Iran of being "an imperialist terrorist nation" whose military is aiming to stoke tensions between Jerusalem and the Arab world.

Israel and Iran have long fought each other through proxies, and with the new exchange each seemed to be sending a warning that a direct clash between them could swiftly escalate.

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"The Islamic Republic of Iran preserves its right to self-defense in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and calls upon the Security Council to uphold its responsibilities by condemning acts of aggression and asking the Israeli regime to stop its unsafe and constant adventurism and provoking behaviors which are threatening the regional peace and security", Khoshroo wrote.

Thousands of Iranians protested Friday across the country.

Although the attack on the Golan Heights comes just after Trump announced the ending of USA involvement in the Iran nuclear deal, officials from Israel have downplayed an alleged link.

Although slogans of "Death to America" were few, many Iranians are sincerely angry over the USA decision to withdraw from the deal and are siding with hard-liners who long have warned to be suspicious of the West.

"The holy system of Islamic Republic will step up its missile capabilities day by day so that Israel, this occupying regime, will become sleepless and the nightmare will constantly haunt it that if it does anything foolish, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground", the hard-line cleric said during Friday sermons.

His remarks drew chants of "Death to America!" from those gathered for Friday prayers in Tehran.

Tehran's strong support for the Assad regime in Syria has allowed for the proliferation of Iran-backed military outposts near the border with Israel. The Observatory said eight members of the same family, including three children and five women, were killed.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the death toll from attacks early Thursday has risen from 23 to 27, including at least 11 Iranians and six Syrian soldiers, including three officers.