US confirms killing of top Islamic State cleric
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 22, 2017,
Jun 22, 2017, 3:16
Iran's Revolutionary Guard launched missiles into eastern Syria targeting Islamic State militants Sunday in response to an attack on Iran's parliament and a shrine in Tehran, warning that it would similarly retaliate on anyone else carrying out attacks in Iran.
For the first time in its involvement in Syria's six years of civil war, Iran has launched missiles against Islamic State (IS) targets in Syria.
The Iranian leaders' comments highlight the balancing act faced by Abadi as he strives to hold together a coalition of forces fighting IS in Iraq, including the Iraqi government's own soldiers, the Shi'ite militias as well as Sunni tribal forces and Kurdish peshmerga forces, all backed by USA trainers and special forces.
Iran had earlier insinuated that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia - its chief regional foe - had encouraged the June 7 attacks on Iran's Parliament and the mausoleum of the late Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, killing 17 people.
Russia, which is flying its own air war in Syria to prop up President Bashar al-Assad, condemned the incident and said it had shut off a special "deconfliction" hotline with the U.S. military, though top officer General Joe Dunford later said the United States was seeking to re-establish the channel.
The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) fired six medium-range missiles which pounded IS command headquarters as well as arms and ammunition centers June 18 night, the IRGC announced, referring to the attacks as successful.
Both sides are battling the Islamic State group, with SDF fighters focusing on their march into the northern city of Raqqa, which the extremist group has declared to be its capital.
"The liberation of Mosul is the symbol of the end of terrorism and a victory for Iran, Iraq, Syria and all the countries of the region that are fighting against terrorism", Rouhani said during talks with Abadi.
Russian Federation threatened aircraft from the US -led coalition in Syrian-controlled airspace and suspended a hotline meant to avoid collisions in retaliation for the USA military shooting down a Syrian warplane on Sunday.
It adds new tensions in a region already unsettled by a long-running feud between Shiite power Iran and the Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as well as a campaign by Arab nations against Qatar.
ISIS has not acknowledged the strikes and Syrian activists said at least two of the rockets caused no casualties. However, an IDF source dismissed the claim, telling Haaretz that the attacks were "a great deal less impressive than the media noise being made in Iran around the launch".
Summary⎙ Print According to Iranian officials, Tehran's strikes on Islamic State fighters inside Syria carried a wider message.
The U.S. recently deployed a truck-mounted missile system into Syria as Assad's forces cut off the advance of America-backed rebels along the Iraqi border.
As it tries to craft a Syria strategy, the Trump administration is divided between those who consider Islamic State the primary enemy and some officials who think the war in Syria is part of an existential struggle between the United States and its Gulf allies on the one hand and Iran on the other, said a third US official, who has participated in government deliberations on Syria.
Since Trump took office, his administration has put new economic sanctions on those allegedly involved with Iran's missile program as the Senate has voted for applying new sanctions on Iran.
"I'm sure that because of this, neither the US nor anyone else will take any actions to threaten our aircraft", he told the state-owned RIA Novosti news agency.
Former IRGC chief Mohsen Rezaei tweeted, "This was just the beginning of the revenge".