Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

Zarif: Iran's missile capability helps int'l anti-terror fight

Zarif: Iran's missile capability helps int'l anti-terror fight

Late Sunday, the elite Revolutionary Guards launched six missiles from western Iran into Syria's mostly Islamic State group-held Deir Ezzor province, hitting an IS command base, the Guards said. An IRGC statement on Sunday said the missiles hit "the command headquarters and gathering centers and logistical sites in which suicide vehicle bombs were being assembled" with "pinpoint" accuracy and killed a "large number" of terrorists and destroyed their equipment and weapons.

Iran's missile attack on the Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) was a "must" and a demand of the Iranian public, former MP Abolfazl Shakuri says.

This is especially confusing as activists in Syria didn't have information about the claimed Iranian strikes.

The developments added to already-soaring regional tensions and reflect the intensifying rivalry among the major players in Syria's civil war that could spiral out of control just as the fight against the Islamic State group in its stronghold of Raqqa is gaining ground.

On June 7, the Islamic State (IS) militants carried out twin operations in the capital Tehran on Iran's Parliament and the Mausoleum of Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini, which killed 17 and injured dozens.

The missile strikes are Iran's first direct military move in the region since the Iraqi invasion of the country in 1980, and the strongest signal to regional archrivals, mainly Saudi Arabia, which has sought to test Iran's patience. The extremists have been trying to fortify their positions in the Syrian city in the face of a US -led coalition onslaught on Raqqa, the group's de facto capital.

Iraqi and Syrian forces met at a crossing point northeast of Tanf, a strategic Syrian border crossing with Iraq on the Baghdad-Damascus highway, where US troops and Syrian opposition fighters are based, a Syrian general told the pro-government al-Ikhbariya TV channel.

"The firing of these missiles had previously been coordinated with Syria and the missiles entered the Syrian airspace through Iraq", he said. The five IS militants who carried out the attack died.

"Our rockets bombarded the IS base in the east of Syria", read the Guards statement, using a common acronym for Islamic State.

The "flagrant aggression" highlights coordination between the USA and Islamic State and "reveals the evil intentions fo the U.S. in administering terrorism", the general command said in a statement carried by state-run SANA news agency.

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