We strongly support Israel’s right to act in self-defense, says US

Washington on Thursday condemned Iran for rocket fire targeting Israeli forces in the occupied Golan Heights, and voiced its “strong support” for Israel’s right to retaliate in “self-defense.”

Israel has blamed Iran for the rocket attacks, and hit back Thursday with deadly raids against what it said were Iranian targets in Syria.

“The United States condemns the Iranian regime’s provocative rocket attacks from Syria against Israeli citizens, and we strongly support Israel’s right to act in self-defense,” said a White House statement.

The rocket attack in the Golan Heights and the retaliatory Israeli air strikes marked a sharp escalation in the mounting tensions between Iran and Israel.

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It came two days after President Donald Trump, ignoring the advice of his European allies, announced that the United States was withdrawing from a 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran.

The Israeli military said its warplanes struck 70 targets inside Syria, one of the biggest such operations in years. A British-based human rights monitor said 23 fighters were killed.

Russia, France and Germany called for restraint, insisting there be no further escalation.

The US statement, however, laid the blame squarely on Iran and urged “all nations to make clear that the Iranian regime’s action pose a severe threat to international peace and stability.”

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“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.

“Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) bears full responsibility for the consequences of its reckless actions, and we call on the IRGC and its militant proxies, including Hezbollah, to take no further provocative steps,” it said.

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