Iran's Revolutionary Guards Fires Missiles Into Syria Over Attack on Parade

Netanyahu responds: Assault proves Israel not connected to military parade attack

This handout photo provided by Iran's Revolutionary Guard official website via SEPAH News shows missiles being launched from an undisclosed location to target militants in eastern Syria early on October 1, 2018.
AFP

Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard said Monday that it launched ballistic missiles into eastern Syria targeting militants it blamed for a recent attack on a military parade, the Islamic Republic's second such missile attack on Syria in over a year.

State television and the state-run IRNA news agency said the attacks "killed and wounded" militants in Syria, without elaborating. Syrian state media did not immediately acknowledge the strike.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Iran's attack on Syria later on Monday, saying the strikes prove Israel was not involved in the shooting at the military parade.

"Iran's attempt to tie Israel to the terrorist attack in southern Iran is ridiculous. The fact that 'Death to Israel' was written on the missiles launched at Syria proves everything," Netanyahu said.

State TV aired footage of one of its reporters standing by as one of the missiles launched, identifying the area as being in Iran's western province of Kermanshah. A state TV-aired graphic suggested the missiles flew over central Iraq near the city of Tikrit before landing near the city of Abu Kamal, in the far southeast of Syria.

Abu Kamal is held by forces loyal to Syria's embattled President Bashar Assad. However, the city has been targeted even now by militants from the extremist Islamic State group, who have lost almost all the territory they once held in Syria and Iraq.

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The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has been documenting violence in Syria since 2011, confirmed the attack and said this was the first time in which Iranian forces in Syria hit Islamic State positions by ground-to-ground missiles.

The attack adds to confusion over who carried out an assault on a military parade in Ahvaz on Sept. 22 that killed at least 24 people and wounded over 60.

Iran initially blamed Arab separatists for the attack in which gunmen disguised as soldiers opened fire on the crowd and officials watching the parade from a riser in the southwestern city. Arab separatists also immediately claimed the attack and offered details about one of the attackers that ultimately turned out to be true.

The Islamic State group also claimed responsibility for the assault, but initially made factual incorrect claims about it. Later, IS released footage of several men that Iran ultimately identified as attackers, though the men in the footage never pledged allegiance to the extremist group.

In announcing the attack, Iranian state media said the missiles targeted both "takfiri" militants — a term it often applies to the Islamic State group — and Ahvazi separatists. The separatists have not been known to work with the Islamic State group in the past.

This is the third time in recent months that Iran has fired its ballistic missiles in anger.

Last year, Iran fired ballistic missiles into Syria over a bloody IS attack on Tehran targeting parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. However, of seven missiles fired at the town of Deir el-Zour, only two were reported to have reached their targets. Three of the projectiles fell outside Syrian territory, in Iraq, while two fell somewhere in Syria, missing their targets by several kilometers. 

In September, Iran fired missiles into Iraq targeting a base of an Iranian Kurdish separatist group. The separatists say that strike killed at least 11 people and wounded 50.

DPA contributed to this report.