Published: Wed, June 21, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Iran says missile strike targeting ISIS was warning to US, Saudis

The strikes are the first time Iran has fired missiles at another country in three decades and represent a major escalation of Iran's role in the war in Syria. Iran fired six missiles from the western part of the country into eastern Syria targeting what it called "terrorist bases" in Deir ez-Zor.

The Russians, who have been providing air cover for Assad's forces since 2015, appear to want to avoid further USA targeting of Syrian warplanes or ground troops that have come under US attack in eastern Syria recently.

A dozen people were killed and 39 others were injured after four gunmen of the Islamic State and suicide bombers stormed Iran's parliament and the Mausoleum of Imam Khomeini in Tehran.

The remarks came amid questions whether the strike — Iran's first in the Syrian war — had been effective.

These have included several air strikes against pro-government forces that have sought to advance towards a US base in southeastern Syria near the border with Iraq, where the USA military has been training Syrian rebels to fight IS.

A spokesman for Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Ramazan Sharif, said all six ballistic missiles it launched on Syria hit their targets, according to "local sources and drone films".

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Ehud Ya'ari of Israel's Channel 2 said that only one of the Iranian missiles actually managed to reach its intended target in Syria.

After the three encounters, Assad's forces wheeled around and seized territory to the north all the way to the Iraqi border, leaving USA forces and their allies largely isolated in the southeast and cutting off their path to the Islamic State group.

Analyst Foad Izadi said the strike was meant to convey several messages.

Both sides are battling the Islamic State group, with SDF fighters focusing on their march into the northern city of Raqqa, which the extremist group has declared to be its capital.

Moscow said it would treat US-led coalition aircraft flying west of the River Euphrates in Syria as potential targets and track them with missile systems and military aircraft.

Iran's larger, longer-range missiles have struggled with accuracy problems in the past, as many lack global positioning satellite receivers.

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The missile strikes are also being used to warn "some reactionary countries" of the sub-region, and Saudi Arabia was expressly singled out as one of them, with allegations that "they are trying to bring insecurity into Iran".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed to take Iran's missile launch seriously, saying on Monday: "We are following their actions and we are following their words".

Iran said it killed 360 terrorists in the missile attack.

The Iranians say the new Senate sanctions against ballistic missiles violate the 2015 nuclear deal [f].

Iran's parliamentary commission on national security declared that the strike "made it clear that the US Congress's anti-Iranian bills are worthless" and that "Iran pays no attention to the Congress's hostile bills", according to Iranian media.

The official was not authorized to be quoted by name and spoke on condition of anonymity.

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