Both Syrian and Iran are making bold threats following a surprise Israeli airstrike in Syrian territory on Wednesday.Iran’s deputy foreign minister told state TV that the “Israeli bombing in Syria will have grave consequences on Tel Aviv,” Haaretz reports.
On Saturday a top aide to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that any “attack on Syria is considered (an) attack on Iran and Iran’s allies.”
Syria’s ambassador to Lebanon said the Damascus has “the option and the surprise to retaliate,” Al Jazeera reports.
Early Wednesday Israeli jets bombed a target in southwest Syria.
Syria, Iran and Hezbollah contend that the Israeli target was a military research centre in Jamraya, three miles from Damascus and eight miles from the Lebanese border.
U.S. officials, Syrian rebels and regional security sources told Reuters the warplanes hit a weapons convoy carrying antiaircraft missiles from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon while rebels attacked the facility at about the same time with “six 120 millimetre mortars.”
Either way there is no doubt that the Israeli strike has raised the geopolitical conflict in the region to the next level. Mark Urban of Newsnight details how the attack is one more sign of an alarming deterioration of the security situation across the Middle East.
Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi condemned the strike, saying that the “Israeli aggression… is a clear violation of the territory of an Arab state and of its sovereignty, going against the UN charter and the rules of international law.”
Russia’s foreign ministry said that “we are dealing with unprovoked attacks on targets on the territory of a sovereign country, which blatantly violates the UN Charter and is unacceptable, no matter the motives to justify it.”
Israeli security chief Yaakov Amidror is currently in Russia to discuss the Syrian crisis while Israel defence Force intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi is in Washington for consultations with American officials.
On Tuesday Israeli Minister of Home Front Defence Avi Dichter told Israel Radio that options to prevent Syria from using or transferring chemical or conventional weapons included deterrence and “attempts to hit the stockpiles.”
Diplomats in the Middle East familiar with Jamraya told Reuters that the sprawling complex is a crucial element of Syria’s missile program that also has a chemical weapons facility.
A Free Syrian Army statement said that Iranian, Russian and Hezbollah members were at the complex helping develop chemical and other weapons including ‘barrel bombs’ used by Assad’s air force.
Former top military intelligence official Danny Rothschild recently told army radio that Israel “could face an attack by Hezbollah or possibly Syria, that’s why we must prepare our defences and Iron Dome is part of that.”
On Tuesday Israeli Air Force (IAF) chief Major-General Amir Eshel told an international aerospace conference that the IAF was involved in “a campaign between wars,” working with Israeli intelligence agencies in often covert missions “to reduce the immediate threats [and] to create better conditions in which we will be able to win the wars, when they happen.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.