Top Iranian official: Israel ‘will regret’ attacks in Syria
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Top Iranian official: Israel ‘will regret’ attacks in Syria

Day after strike near Damascus, Russian news agency publishes interview with senior adviser Ali Akbar Velayati saying Israeli airstrikes ‘will not pass without a response’

Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, gives an interview to The Associated Press at his office in Tehran, Iran, August 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi, File)
Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, gives an interview to The Associated Press at his office in Tehran, Iran, August 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi, File)

A top Iranian official said that Israel “will regret” its attacks in Syria, which have reportedly targeted Iranian resources and weapons shipments.

The Israeli attacks “will not pass without a response,” Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in an interview with the Russia Today’s Arabic channel that was published Monday.

His remarks came out a day after an airstrike in Syria that Damascus officials blamed on Israel and that reportedly killed three, foreign pro-regime fighters, likely Iranians. It was not clear if Velayati had spoken to the station before or after the Sunday missile attack.

Iran has increasingly been saying it will retaliate to alleged Israeli strikes in Syria.

Channel 12 TV news reported Monday that Israeli officials are concerned Iran may attempt to launch a revenge assault similar to a September 14 cruise missile and drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities that knocked out half the kingdom’s oil production. Although Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels claimed responsibility, the US, Britain, France, Germany, and Saudi Arabia have blamed Iran of being behind the attack.

Iran regularly threatens Israel, viewing the country as a powerful enemy allied with the US and Sunni countries in the region against Tehran and its nuclear ambitions.

Syrian state news agency SANA reported an attack just before midnight on Sunday.

It said Syrian air defenses fired on “hostile missiles” coming from “the Occupied Territories,” referring to Israel.

Illustrative: Explosions seen near Damascus on July 1, 2019, during a purported Israeli airstrike. (Screen capture/Twitter)

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, there were three explosions in the Damascus suburbs after the missiles targeted “Syrian regime and Iranian positions.”

It said three non-Syrian fighters were killed by a rocket blast between the suburb of Aqraba and the nearby Sayyida Zeinab neighborhood, home to a shrine revered by Shiite Muslims. It did not specify their nationality but said they were likely Iranian.

Israel has not claimed responsibility for the raids.

Lebanon’s Al Akhbar newspaper reported that the purported Israeli strike had targeted arms warehouses in the suburb of Sayyidah Zaynab south of Damascus.

Israel has repeatedly said that it will not accept Iranian military entrenchment in Syria and that it will retaliate for any attack on the Jewish state from Syria.

Though it does not generally comment on specific attacks, Israel has admitted to carrying out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria against Iranian targets over the last several years. Iran has forces based in Syria, Israel’s northern neighbor, and supports the Hezbollah terror group and Gaza terrorists.

Last month, Israel said it struck dozens of Iranian targets in Syria in a “wide-scale” operation in response to rocket fire on the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights the day before.

Earlier in November, Israel killed a senior commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an Iran-backed group in the Gaza Strip, setting off two days of heavy fighting. A separate airstrike targeted, but failed to kill, an Islamic Jihad leader in Damascus, underscoring the risk of escalation at various pressure points across the volatile region.

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