May 1, 2018

Mysterious missile strikes hit military bases in Syria

Missile strikes targeted suspected Iranian military bases in the Syrian provinces of Hama and Aleppo late Sunday (4/29), Syrian state media reported Monday (4/30). Reports of casualties varied, with between 26 and 40 people said to have been killed and 58 wounded.

Massive explosions were recorded at both sites and the European-Mediterranean Seismological Center said the blasts caused a 2.6-magnitude earthquake in the area.

The Iranian Students News Agency initially confirmed that 18 of its soldiers had been killed in the strikes, but Iran’s Tasnim news agency later denied this, saying claims that Iranian bases in Syria had been hit were baseless and that no Iranians had been killed.

According to the Orient News outlet, which is affiliated with the Syrian rebels, some Democratic Force rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack.



Report: Underground missile production facility targeted in Syria – Anna Ahronheim

Hizbullah-affiliated Al Akhbar reported the targets of Sunday’s strike were Syrian army bases used by Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Shiite militias.  According to reports, the target in Hama was an underground missile production facility funded by Iran and built with the help of North Korea.



After Syrian strikes, Israeli security cabinet holds emergency meeting

A high-level security cabinet convened for an emergency meeting on Monday afternoon (4/30) hours after missile strikes in Syria reportedly killed some 26 Iranian troops.

Ministers were told to arrive at the Kirya military base, which is also home to the Defense Ministry, in Tel Aviv.  The impromptu meeting, which lasted for an hour and a half focused on the rising tension on Israel’s northern border.

Israel has not commented on the strikes which some media outlets were blaming on the Jewish state.



Iran, Syria left in awkward position as ‘enemy’ attackers unknown

Sunday night’s (4/29) strikes against Assad army bases could have been part of a joint initiative launched from Syrian territory between Syrian rebels or other military forces armed with highly accurate missiles and rockets, making it difficult for Syria and Iran to hold Israel and the US accountable.  Syrian rebels said almost immediately that they carried out the strikes, while some sources blamed the Kurdish forces in the area and still others blamed the UK for participating in the bombings.

However, both Israel and the United States have an interest in targeting the Iranian forces or the Iranian-backed forces operating in Syria, but with the multitude of forces and militias acting in Syria it is easy to cover up the attackers identity, placing the Syrians and Iranians in an awkward situation.



Iran leader: US will be ‘hit multiple times’ if it enters conflict with Iran

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said Monday (4/30) the time when Iran’s enemies can “hit and run” is over.

“They know if they enter military conflict with Iran, they will be hit multiple times,” he said in comments during a meeting with Iranian workers, according to his website.  He did not specifically refer to the latest attack in Syria, which claimed the lives of at least 26 people – mostly Iranians.

He also called on the United States to leave the Middle East.



PM Netanyahu presents ‘conclusive proof’ Iran lied ‘big time’ about nuclear ambitions

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed Monday evening (4/30) what he said was “conclusive proof” of a secret project underway in Iran for the development of a nuclear weapon – evidence that he said proved that Tehran had lied “big time” to the international community.

“Tonight I will show you something that the world has never seen,” Netanyahu told an audience during what he said was a “significant development regarding the nuclear agreement with Iran” at the Kiryah military headquarters in Tel Aviv.

Israel had obtained, he said, in a “great intelligence achievement,” secrets, comprising 55,000 pages that “Iran has been hiding for years from the international community.”

“Tehran has for years been developing the bomb, despite a terrible nuclear agreement based on lies,” said Netanyahu.



U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo and Palestinians have nothing to discuss – Gardiner Harris and Isabel Kershner

During his visit to Israel on Sunday (4/29), Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not meet a single Palestinian representative.  For decades, American diplomats saw themselves as brokers between the two sides, and secretaries of state typically met Palestinian representatives on regional tours.  No more.

After President Trump’s decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Palestinian leaders have cut off political contacts with the administration.



Pompeo in Jordan: US ‘fully supportive’ of Israel’s right to defend itself

“We do believe the Israelis have the right to defend themselves and we are fully supportive of that,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared while visiting Jordan Monday (4/30).

He declined to criticize the Israeli military for its use of live fire against Palestinian terrorists along the Gaza border.

However, Pompeo did not agree when Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the Israeli/Palestinian conflict was the main cause of instability in the Middle East.



Saudi Crown Prince: Palestinians should negotiate peace or ‘be quiet”

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said the Palestinian leadership needs to accept the peace plans proposed by the US or stop complaining, and said that the Arab world has lost interest in the so-called Palestinian issue.  

He said the Palestinians should negotiate peace or “be quiet.



PA official slams Hamas for Gaza border marches

Speaking in the presence of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, his adviser on Religious and Islamic Affairs, Mahmoud al-Habash, lashed out at Hamas last week during a Friday sermon: “The marches of return gamble with the lives of children and women, which does not serve Palestine.  The leadership in Gaza…gamble on the life of the young. Even when they have many other agendas, they wish to revive themselves with the blood of our people.”

(; Maariv – Hebrew)