Iran: Israel Will Pay for Strike on Drone Base in Syria

Tehran's Foreign Ministry warns 'Zionist regime' will receive 'an appropriate response' to attack

Iran's Revolutionary Guard troops parade to mark the 36th anniversary of Iraq's 1980 invasion of Iran, in front of the shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini, just outside Tehran, Iran. Sept. 21, 2016
Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

Iran will punish Israel for a strike on a drone base in Syria, Tehran's Foreign Ministry said Monday, following a report quoting an Israeli senior military official as admitting that the country was behind the attack.

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“Tel Aviv will be punished for its aggressive action,” Bahram Ghassemi, the spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, told reporters. "The occupying Zionist regime will, sooner or later, receive an appropriate response to its actions."

Ghassemi called the airstrike “unacceptable” and said “the Syrian military can defend its territory and will do so."

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The attack last week killed seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force members, including Colonel Mehdi Dehghan, who led the drone unit operating out of the base east of Homs. Israel declined to comment on whether it was behind the strike. However, the New York Times quoted a senior Israeli official as saying that Israel conducted the attack and that the incident “was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets — both facilities and people.”

Hezbollah's second in command echoed the Iranian warning on Monday. Naim Qassesm, deputy secretary-general of the Lebanon-based Shi'ite Muslim organization, said Iran will respond to the strike at a time and place of its choosing.

The attack on the drone base in Syria came about two months after an Israeli F-16 aircraft was shot down after it struck targets in Syria in response to an Iranian drone that infiltrated Israeli airforce. 

The downed Iranian drone was armed with explosives and on its way to carry out an attack, the Israeli military later announced.