For months now the Iranians have been conducting a military build-up in southern and south-western Syria with the single objective in mind of encroaching on Israel's sovereignty and their security.
Retired American four-star general and chairman of the Institute for the Studay of War Jack Keane was talking to Fox News about the febrile situation in the Middle East, as tensions ramp up following the USA's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
He said "six Syrian soldiers and 21 foreign fighters, including 11 Iranians" were among the dead. In February, Israel shot down an Iranian drone that entered its airspace, triggering a clash in which an Israeli warplane crashed after being struck by Syrian anti-aircraft fire.
But Thursday's air raid came amid heightened tension in the regime after President Trump announced on Tuesday that the USA would withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
"Both leaders condemned the Iranian regime's provocative rocket attacks from Syria against Israeli citizens", the statement said.
Tehran has not completely walked away from the nuclear deal, since the Europeans are still participating.
In a lengthy statement Friday, the Iranian government warned that it would take "whatever reciprocal measures it deems expedient" if it is not fully compensated for the USA withdrawal from the nuclear agreement as provided for in the accord.
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A hard-line Iranian cleric threatened his country would retaliate if Israel "does anything foolish".
During the rule of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, Iran had close relations with Israel starting in the 1950s, including diplomatic representations and direct flights. Hostile rhetoric has escalated over the decades since.
It shouldn't be forgotten that Turkey is seriously concerned about what its government has previously described as the "terror corridor" that the US is setting up in northern Syria through its sponsorship of militant Kurds, and President Erdogan reminded everyone that his military is prepared to possibly launch another operation into the Arab Republic in the near future, so any uptick in troubles in the US-Turkish relationship might play out in this proxy battlefield. Israel said Iranian Quds Forces deployed inside Syria fired about 20 rockets at IDF positions.
Is the Mideast sliding to an all-encompassing, ruinous war?.
A Syrian war monitor says Israeli strikes on suspected military positions in Syria this week killed 42 people.
Although Iran may not be a match for Israel's military power, it has a variety of allies and ways to hit back if corned by the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia, Iran's regional rival. In Lebanon, Hezbollah would stand ready to support its patron Iran. Saudi Arabia already accuses Iran of providing missiles that Yemeni rebels have fired toward Riyadh.