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US, Britain condemn alleged Iranian attack in Golan

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Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urged Iran to refrain from actions that could destabilize the region, after a suspected Iranian rocket attack against Israeli positions in the Golan Heights. (AFP)
  • Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called on Russia to press the Syrian government, its ally, to work toward a broader political settlement.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron called for a de-escalation in the Middle East.

JERUSALEM: The United States on Thursday condemned Iran’s “provocative rocket attacks”  from Syria and supported Israel’s right to defend itself.

“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,” the White House said in a statement.

It said Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps “bears full responsibility for the consequences of its reckless actions.”

Britain also condemned “in the strongest terms” Iran’s rocket attack against Israeli positions in the Golan Heights and warned against “further escalations” after the attack and retaliatory air strikes by Israel.

In a statement Thursday, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urged Iran to refrain from actions that could destabilize the region. Johnson also called on Russia to press the Syrian government, its ally, to work toward a broader political settlement. He warned against “further escalations” between Iran and Israel.

The minister added “we strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself.”
He called for the Iranian regime to “refrain from further actions which will only lead to increased instability in the region.
“We also continue to call on Russia to use its influence to press those in Syria to cease their destabilising activity and work toward a broader political settlement,” he added.

The attack in the Golan prompted Israel to launch a wave of missile strikes at Iranian targets inside Syria. Iran has not commented on the exchange of fire. Syria’s military said the Israeli strikes killed three people and damaged a number of its air defense units.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron called for a de-escalation in the Middle East after an alleged Iranian rocket barrage on Israeli positions in the Golan Heights prompted Israeli strikes on Iranian targets in Syria.
Merkel and Macron met in Aachen, Germany Thursday on the sidelines of a ceremony where Macron was awarded a prize for contributions to European unity. The German government said they discussed events in the Middle East and called for “level-headedness and de-escalation in the region.”

Merkel alluded to the two countries’ support for the Iran nuclear deal. She said: “We know that we face an extremely complicated situation here. The escalation of the last few hours shows it is truly a matter of war and peace, and I can only call on all involved to exercise restraint.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Thursday called for dialogue between Israel and Iran following Israeli strikes on Iranian targets in Syria that marked a sharp escalation between the two enemies.

“This is a very disturbing trend. We proceed from the fact that all issues should be solved through dialogue,” Lavrov said at a press conference.

He added that Russia had warned Israel to avoid “all actions that could be seen as provocative” the day before the strikes, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Syria’s military said overnight Israeli airstrikes killed three people, wounded two and destroyed a radar station, an ammunition warehouse, and damaged a number of air defense units.
Syrian Brig. Gen. Ali Mayhoub, who read the statement on Syrian television Thursday, said Syrian air defense systems had intercepted “the large part” of the incoming Israeli strikes.

Israel’s defense minister said the military has struck “nearly all” of the Iranian infrastructure sites in Syria.
Avigdor Lieberman said Thursday Israel responded fiercely to an unprecedented rocket attack by Iranian forces in Syria against Israel. He said no one was harmed in Israel and all the rockets were either intercepted or fell short.