Iran fires rockets in 'revenge' at Islamic State in Syria

The missiles, which were variously estimated to be between four and six in number, were reportedly launched against Takfiri (extremist) terrorists' key sites in Syria's eastern region of Deir Ez-zor by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

But Sunday's strike was the first known missile attack launched from Iran into foreign territory since the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88. Iranian leaders have accused Saudi Arabia of involvement in the twin attacks, which Riyadh denies.

The Iranian missiles were launched from Kermanshah in western Iran near the border with Iraq.

The Guard said it fired six missiles in total from Kermanshah and also from Iran's Kurdistan province into Syria's Deir el-Zour province, where IS has been trying to fortify its positions in the face of a USA -led coalition onslaught.

The missiles flew over Iraq before striking what the Guard called an Islamic State command center and suicide auto bomb operation in Deir el-Zour, over 600 kilometers (370 miles) away. The extremists increasingly have fled to Deir el-Zour as the Islamic State group's de facto capital of Raqqa has come under punishing USA -led airstrikes.

The United States said the Syrian army plane shot down on Sunday had dropped bombs near fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a USA -backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters battling to capture the city of Raqqa from IS. This month Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters, supported by US advisers and air power, began the battle for Raqqa, the militants' self-declared capital. The IS group did not immediately acknowledge the strikes.

"The Saudis and Americans are especially receivers of this message".

"Obviously and clearly, some reactionary countries of the region, especially Saudi Arabia, have announced that they are trying to bring insecurity into Iran", he said.

A USA fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane Sunday after it dropped bombs near local ground forces supported by the United States, the first time the us military has downed a Syrian aircraft since the start of the civil war in 2011, officials said.

The U.S. military says it shot down an Iranian-made, armed drone in southern Syria.

"We have agreed in the past, that is we and the Russian Federation pro-regime forces, that operations that the coalition were conducting in Syria were effectively degrading ISIS capability, and will work to restore that de-confliction chain in the next few hours", Dunford said.

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 USA -allied states in the Middle East.

Tehran has warned ISIS militants that any future attacks on the country will result in powerful strikes against the group.

Separately, Fox News has learned more about the Iranian missiles fired into eastern Syria yesterday. However, the test launches haven't affected Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Iran's homegrown missiles, a serious point of contention with Washington and Tel Aviv, can reach up to 2,000 kilometres. When Iran unveiled the Zolfaghar in 2016, it bore a banner printed with a 2013 anti-Israeli quote by Khamenei saying that Iran will annihilate the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa should Israel attack Iran.

An IRGC statement on Sunday said the missiles hit "the command headquarters, meeting centers and logistical sites in which suicide auto bombs were being assembled" with "pinpoint" accuracy and killed a "large number" of terrorists and destroyed their equipment and weapons. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations. "We oppose Assad, but our main enemy is ISIS, which also opposes Assad".

The Guards statement, published on Wednesday by Sepah News, ran counter to a statement by President Hassan Rouhani who said earlier that the strikes were authorised by the Supreme National Security Council, which includes the heads of the three branches of government as well as the head of the Guards and other ministers.

Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

  • Leroy Wright