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Israel Strikes Iranian Targets in Syria as Tensions Escalate

May 9, 2018

JERUSALEM — Israeli fighter jets struck dozens of Iranian targets in Syria overnight, Israeli officials said, following soon after what the Israeli military described as an unsuccessful Iranian rocket attack against its forces in the Golan Heights.

The response — which Israeli officials claimed struck a severe blow to Iran’s military capacity in the area — came amid drastically ramped up tensions in the Middle East after President Trump’s move this week to pull the United States out of a multinational nuclear deal with Tehran. Israel had railed against the agreement and Mr. Trump had campaigned on the promise of withdrawing from it, but European countries and many analysts had seen it as a crucial element holding Iran and Israel, implacable foes, from all-out conflict.

In the aftermath of the president’s decision on Tuesday, the rhetoric between the two sides has heightened sharply. And while Israel and Iran have been conducting a shadow war in Syria for months under the cover of the civil war there, the conflict has now burst into the open.

Israel Strikes Iranian Targets in Syria as Tensions EscalateIsrael Strikes Iranian Targets in Syria as Tensions Escalate

Overnight, Iranian forces fired around 20 rockets into the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, targeting forward positions of the Israeli military, according to an Israeli military spokesman. The rockets were all either intercepted or fell short of their mark, the spokesman said, but were nevertheless a significant escalation in Iran’s maneuvers in the Middle East. Though Israel has hit Iranian forces in Syria with a number of deadly airstrikes, Tehran has been restrained in hitting back, until now.

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