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Israel says air strike in Syria sent 'no immunity' message to Iran

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Jerusalem Aug 26, 2019, 09.10 AM (IST)

Israel said on Sunday an air strike against an arm of Iran's Revolutionary Guards in Syria that it accused of planning "killer drone attacks" showed Tehran that its forces were vulnerable anywhere.

A senior Revolutionary Guards commander denied that Iranian targets had been hit late on Saturday and said its military "advisory centres have not been harmed", the semi-official ILNA news agency reported.

The Israeli military said its aircraft struck "Iranian Quds Force operatives and Shiite militias which were preparing to advance attack plans targeting sites in Israel from within Syria over the last number of days".

The elite Quds Force is the overseas arm of Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, told reporters "a number of attack drones", each armed with several kilogrammes of explosives, were to have been launched simultaneously at targets in northern Israel on Thursday but the plan was thwarted.

He did not disclose what measures Israel took that day. He described the "killer drones" - designed to slam into targets - as highly accurate.

The military released grainy black-and-white surveillance footage purporting to show the Iranian operatives on Thursday near the drones' launching site.

In the footage, four people are seen walking in an open area, one of them carrying an object that the military identified as a killer drone.

Conricus said the drones, accompanied by the Iranian operatives, had arrived at Damascus airport from Iran several weeks ago and were taken to a Quds-controlled compound in a village southeast of the city.

Israel carried out Saturday's attack, Conricus said, after learning that another attempt to launch drones was imminent.

Writing on Twitter after Saturday's Israeli strike, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "Iran has no immunity anywhere. Our forces operate in every sector against the Iranian aggression. If someone rises up to kill you, kill him first."

Speaking on Sunday on the Syrian front, Netanyahu added: "Any country that allows its territory to be used for attacks against Israel will face the consequences, and I repeat, the country will face the consequences."

Story highlights

A senior Revolutionary Guards commander denied that Iranian targets had been hit late on Saturday and said its military "advisory centres have not been harmed", the semi-official ILNA news agency reported.