The United States warned Israel several weeks ago not to strike sites belonging to Iranian proxies in Iraq amid reports that Tehran deployed ballistic missiles capable of targeting Israel and Saudi Arabia, according to Israeli public broadcaster KAN.
Reportedly, U.S. officials told Israeli defense officials to “please leave Iraq to us.”
Although new American sanctions on Iran are meant to pressure the Islamic Republic regarding its activity militarily in the Middle East and its ballistic-missile initiative, the regime is said to be improving its missile arms. It recently unveiled a new line of Fateh missiles called al-Mobeen or “The Divine Conquest,” which have a range of 186 miles and 310 miles.
Nonetheless, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman did not back down and said on Monday that Israel will target all Iranian threats.
“We are dealing with all the Iranian threats, we are not limiting ourselves to just Syrian territory,” he said. “We will deal with every Iranian threat, no matter where it comes from. Israeli freedom of action is absolute.”
This development comes as U.S. President Donald Trump warned Iran, Syria and Russia on Monday of “human tragedy” in launching an attack—presumably, one that is chemical—against civilians in the Idlib province, which is Syria’s last rebel stronghold.
“President Bashar al-Assad of Syria must not recklessly attack Idlib Province. The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy,” Trump posted on Twitter. “Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed. Don’t let that happen!”
The United States hit Syrian targets with tomahawk missiles in response to chemical attacks in 2017 and earlier this year, allegedly perpetrated by forces supporting Assad.