Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May signs the official letter to European Council President Donald Tusk, in 10 Downing Street, London, Tuesday March 28, 2017, invoking Article 50 of the bloc's key treaty, the formal start of exit negotiations. Britons voted in June to leave the bloc after four decades of membership. (Christopher Furlong/Pool via AP)

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Britain condemns Iran attack on Israel

London, May 10 – Britain on Thursday condemned Iran’s attacks on Israel and calls on Russia to use its influence in Syria to stop any further attacks, a spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said on Thursday, after Iranian forces fired rockets at Israeli army bases.

“We condemn Iran’s attack on Israel. Israel has every right to defend itself,” the spokesman told reporters.

“We call on Iran to refrain from any further attacks and for calm on all sides. We call on Russia to use its influence in Syria to prevent further Iranian attacks.”

Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have called on Israel and Iran to exercise restraint to avoid any further escalation of tension in the Middle East.

Israel has said it attacked nearly all of Iran’s military infrastructure in Syria after Iranian forces fired rockets at Israeli-held territory for the first time.

In a laudatory speech for Macron who received the prestigious Charlemagne Prize for strengthening European integration, Merkel said in reference to Iran and Israel: “We know that this is an extremely complicated situation.”

“The escalations of the past few hours show us that it is truly about war and peace. And I can only call on all sides to exercise restraint here,” Merkel added.

Israel said it attacked nearly all of Iran’s military infrastructure in Syria on Thursday after Iranian forces fired rockets at Israeli-held territory for the first time.

It was the heaviest Israeli barrage in Syria since the start in 2011 of its civil war, in which Iranians, allied Shi’ite militias and Russian soldiers have deployed in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

A war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the Israeli strikes killed at least 23 military personnel, including Syrians and non-Syrians.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the Iranian rockets either fell short of their targets, military bases in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, or were intercepted.

Expectations of a regional flare-up, amid warnings from Israel it was determined to prevent Iranian military entrenchment in Syria, were stoked by U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement on Tuesday that he was withdrawing from the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal.

The Trump administration portrayed its position against that agreement as a response, in part, to Tehran’s military interventions in the region – underpinning Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s tough line towards Iran.

Reuters

 

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