20:24 GMT25 July 2021
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    Israel has repeatedly carried out airstrikes on Syrian soil, reportedly targeting military facilities used by Iran and Hezbollah, which it believes are planning to use Syria as a platform to launch attacks against Israeli cities. Tehran is yet to militarily retaliate to Israel's attacks, but the war of words between them is escalating.

    The representative of Iran’s supreme leader to the Quds Force – a special forces unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) – warned on Thursday that “Iran can destroy Israel.” 

    Cleric Ali Shirazi also called on Israel to avoid making "stupid mistakes if it wants to continue its treacherous existence."

    "If Israel wants to continue its treacherous existence… it should avoid stupid measures. If they give excuses to Iran, Tel Aviv and Haifa [two major cities in Israel] will be destroyed. Iran can destroy Israel," Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's representative to the Quds force, cleric Ali Shirazi, told the Fars news agency on April 11. 

    The regional foes have repeatedly accused one another of sponsoring terrorists and destabilizing the region.

    Two Israeli F-16 warplanes targeted the T-4 airbase in Syria's Homs province earlier this month, according to Russia's Ministry of Defense.

    Around half of the missiles fired by the warplanes were intercepted by Syrian air defenses before they reached their targets, but the remaining missiles killed seven Iranian military personnel, prompting condemnation from Tehran and Damascus. 

    READ MORE: Iran Vows to Stand With Damascus Against US and Israeli 'Foreign Aggression'

    Iran is one of a few remaining countries which refuse to recognize the state of Israel, and has been accused of attempting to develop nuclear weapons to threaten and potentially attack Israel with.

    US President Donald Trump is a major critic of the Iran nuclear deal, which eased economic sanctions on the country in exchange for Tehran agreeing to limit its controversial nuclear enrichment program, which it claims to have in place for peaceful energy purposes. 

    The Islamic Republic has also been criticized for providing advanced armaments to the Hezbollah resistance group in Lebanon, which Israel and a number of Western nations consider to be a terrorist organization.

    Hezbollah troops and advisors from the IRGC were deployed to Syria in the infant years of the conflict to fight hardline Islamist militants, including the *Daesh terror group, but Israel is now accusing them of setting up permanent military bases in the country which may be used to attack Israel.

    READ MORE: Israel Would Not Let Iran Advance Forces Toward Its Border — Analyst

    *Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State) is a terrorist group banned in Russia.


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    nuclear weapons, war, Syria crisis, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Iran's Army, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Hezbollah, Ali Shirazi, Donald Trump, Iran, Israel, Middle East
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