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White House Condemns Latest Iranian Attacks on Israel

An Israeli soldier stands on a tank as another jumps off it near the Israeli side of the border with Syria in Golan Heights, Israel, May 9, 2018. (Amir Cohen/Reuters)

The White House on Thursday condemned Iran’s latest round of attacks on Israeli forces, apparently provoked by President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iranian nuclear deal on Tuesday.

Israel said Iranians fired rockets from Syrian bases at Israeli soldiers in the Golan Heights Wednesday night, but the missiles were intercepted and missed all their targets. The Israelis retaliated by firing at Iranian military facilities in Syria, taking Syrian air-defense systems down with them in the biggest Israeli attack in that country since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

“We strongly support Israel’s right to act in self-defense,” read a statement from White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “The Iranian regime’s deployment into Syria of offensive rocket and missile systems aimed at Israel is an unacceptable and highly dangerous development for the entire Middle East. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) bears full responsibility for the consequences of its reckless actions, and we call on the IRGC and its militant proxies, including Hizballah, to take no further provocative steps.”

President Trump on Tuesday announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement, which he said is “one-sided” and never should have been agreed to because it does not crack down hard enough on Iran’s missile program. In the deal’s place, Iran will once again be saddled with crippling U.S. sanctions, and the Trump administration will put pressure on European countries to crack down on the Islamic Republic as well.

Israel was one of the few U.S. allies who supported the White House’s move to pull out of the deal. Britain, which supported maintaining the agreement, nevertheless joined the Trump administration in condemning Iran’s attacks on Israeli forces “in the strongest terms.” Meanwhile, Germany, which had also lobbied President Trump against withdrawal from the agreement, urged a de-escalation of tensions.

“We know that we face an extremely complicated situation here,” German chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday. “The escalation of the last few hours shows it is truly a matter of war and peace, and I can only call on all involved to exercise restraint.”

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