U.S. Pulling Out of Iran Deal Prompted Israel to Launch Missiles at Syria

Israel was accused by Syria of attacking Damascus with missiles on Tuesday, moments after President Donald Trump announced that he was withdrawing from the Iranian nuclear deal.

Israeli military stated that after identifying “irregular activity” by Iranian forces in Syria, it instructed civic authorities on the Golan Heights to ready bomb shelters, deployed new defenses and mobilized some reservist forces, Reuters reported.

According to Reuters, Israel’s top general, Gadi Eizenkott, had to postpone his appearance at an annual security conference while he was being briefed by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and other national security chiefs.

Trump’s withdrawing from the deal and imposing new sanctions on Iran was welcomed by Israel; however, it has sparked fears of a possible regional conflict.

Meanwhile, only two hours after the White House announced the withdrawal, Syrian state news agency SANA said that explosions were heard in Kisweh, south of Damascus, adding that Syrian air defenses fired at two Israeli missiles and destroyed both.

A Syrian commander loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Reuters that Israel’s air force had struck an army base at Kisweh without causing casualties.

Asked about those statements, an Israeli military spokeswoman said: “We do not respond to such foreign reports.”

Israel on several occasions has launched airstrikes against Syria, hoping to stop the formation of a Lebanese-Syrian front to its north.

An April 9 strike killed seven Iranian military personnel at a Syrian airbase. Iran blamed Israel and vowed to retaliate.

Israeli media said that Tuesday’s order to prepare bomb shelters on the Golan was unprecedented during Syria’s civil war.

Golan was captured by Israel from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it although the move was not recognized internationally.

“For months now, Iran has been transferring lethal weaponry to its forces in Syria, with the purpose of striking at Israel,” Netanyahu said. “We will respond mightily to any attack on our territory.”

On Twitter, Lieberman stated that he had spoken to his U.S. counterpart James Mattis and “updated him on regional developments”.


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