Iranian media claim Syrian, not Iranian, rockets struck Golan

Officials in Tehran have not yet responded to allegations that Iran was behind the attack on the Golan, while Iranian media are asserting that it was a Syrian strike.

al-monitor An Israeli Iron Dome defense system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells, stands in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, May 10, 2018.  Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images.

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europeans, retaliation, military attacks, iranian-israeli conflict, golan heights

May 10, 2018

Israel today launched its largest barrage of rockets to strike Syria in recent years, claiming to target all of Iran’s military infrastructure in the country. Israeli officials said that the strikes were in response to 20 Iranian rockets that had targeted the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights hours earlier. In recent months, Israel has reportedly been behind attacks on a number of Iranian sites inside Syria, including an air base used by Iranian forces.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry has not yet responded to the allegation that Iranian forces were behind the Golan attack nor has an Iranian military official. If they were indeed Iranian rockets, it would be the first direct military retaliation by Iran toward Israel. Iranian media outlets have also not attributed the Golan strike to Iran, instead reporting that Syria had carried out the strikes.

The Tasnim News Agency reported, “Last night Damascus responded to the missile strikes of the Zionist regime such that a number of bases of the regime were targeted, and Zionist settlers slept in shelters overnight.” Quoting Syrian sources, the article claimed that dozens of Israeli rockets were intercepted by Syrian air defense systems.

According to Tasnim, the Israeli targets on the Golan were reportedly all military infrastructure or intelligence-gathering facilities, including of the 9900 Intelligence Unit, which it described as “one of the most secretive Zionist spying units.” The agency said of the alleged attack on the 9900 unit, “The strike from Syria against sensitive targets in occupied Golan caused considerable damage against the Zionist army’s preparedness in the field of intelligence.” Tasnim claimed that it is the 9900 Unit that gives Israel “the upper hand in intelligence speed for continuous military and security decision-making.”

Tasnim was not alone in attributing the Golan rocket fire to the Syrian government. Coverage by Fars News also pointed a finger at the Damascus, calling it retaliation for the recent Israeli strikes. It ran the headline “Syria’s response to the aggression with 68 missiles: 10 military points in occupied Golan were targeted.”

Another Fars article wrote about Western assertions attributing the Golan rocket attacks to Iran. “While Syrian government officials stress that it was their forces that carried out the missile attacks on occupied Golan, military officials in Israel and Tel Aviv-allied Western officials are insisting Iran was behind the attack to make this an Israeli-Iranian issue,” the article said.

Fars said the location in Syria from which the rockets were supposedly launched, Quneitra, is in part “controlled by rebels and terrorists, and other parts of are controlled by the Syrian army.” The article commented that regardless of the actual situation, Western countries have lined up to support Israeli claims that Iran was behind the attack.

The White House condemned “Iran after the rocket attack on Golan” and said the United States “strongly supports” Israel’s right to “defend” itself. Germany accused Iran of “provocation,” and UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson issued a statement headed, “UK responds to Iranian air strikes against Israeli forces.” 

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