Iran fires missiles against Islamic State in Syria
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 25, 2017,
Jun 25, 2017, 17:22
But Sunday's strike was the first known missile attack launched from Iran into foreign territory since the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88.
Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says its next "crushing response" to potential enemy missteps has already been planned days after it struck ISIL positions in Syria with missiles in revenge for its terror attacks on Iranian soil.
The Guards Corp said it successfully "targeted the headquarters and meeting place and suicide-car assembly line" of "ISIS terrorists" in the province of Deir el-Zour, where ISIS forces surround an estimated 200,000 people in a government-held section of the provincial capital of the same name. The attack was in retaliation for combined attacks in Iran earlier this month on both the parliament and the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini, in which 17 people, including five civilians were killed and more than 50 wounded.
Iran has been a key backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the country's civil war and the IRGC has played a crucial role on the ground.
The projectiles in question were Zolfaghar ballistic missiles launched from the western provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdistan.
State TV repeatedly aired video footage of the beginning of the attack Monday, showing several missiles streaking across a dark night sky.
In a veiled reference to supposed Israeli support for terror groups such as IS, al-Islam continued, "We are targeting terrorists only, and the countries that support them must know what it means when we use these missiles".
USA and Russian officials had agreed to a ceasefire, which ended on Monday, during talks in Amman aimed at strengthening goodwill before more detailed negotiations on setting up the "de-escalation zone", diplomats in Jordan said.
Washington also described those attacks as self-defence. Iran used seven ground-to-ground mid-range Zulfiqar missiles. "This happened even as the US Senate passed a bill focused on Iran's missile power".
A Guard statement carried on its website said many "terrorists" were killed and their weapons had been destroyed in the strike.
The area is of strategic significance to Tehran as it seeks to secure a land corridor to its allies in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and establish a "Shi'ite crescent" of influence that has long concerned US -allied states in the Middle East.
The attack also sends a clear warning signal to Saudi Arabia which has been trying for some time to test Iran's patience.
This month, an American F-15E shot down an Iranian-made drone after it attacked American fighters in southeastern Syria.
Iranian-backed forces have also been trying to advance towards the base even after repeatedly being bombed by the US -led coalition. The missiles strikes were launched in coordination with Damascus.