Bahrain says Israel 'right to defend itself' after Syria strikes

Bahrain says Israel 'right to defend itself' after Syria strikes
Israel has a right to 'defend itself', Bahrain's Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid al-Khalifa said on Twitter, after the Israeli military struck dozens of Iranian military targets in the country overnight.
2 min read
10 May, 2018
The Bahraini official made the comments on Twitter [Getty]

Bahrain has backed Israel's right to "defend itself", following dozens of Israeli airstrikes on Iranian military targets in Syria overnight.

Bahrain's Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid al-Khalifa said on Thursday that it backed Tel Aviv's military response to attempted Iranian missile strikes on an Israeli army base, early Thursday morning, in the occupied Golan Heights.

"As long as Iran has breached the status quo in the region and invaded countries with its forces and missiles, so any state in the region, including Israel, is entitled to defend itself by destroying sources of danger," the minister, whose country is a close ally of Saudi Arabia, said on his official Twitter account.

The comments came just hours after Israel's army said it had carried out widespread raids against Iranian targets in Syria overnight after rocket fire was exchanged between the two sides.

Syrian state media reported that Israeli missile strikes had hit military bases as well as an arms depot and a military radar installation, without specifying the locations.

The official SANA news agency added that "dozens of missiles were shot down by anti-aircraft systems in Syrian airspace", saying a number of missiles had reached their targets.

The bombardment began after Israel struck the "town of Baath" in Quneitra province, according to monitoring group The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"The Syrian air defences are confronting a new wave of Israeli aggression rockets and downing them one after the other," Syrian state news agency SANA reported.

Around 20 rockets were then fired from Syria in response, targeting Israeli forces in the occupied Golan Heights at around midnight.

Tel Aviv blamed the rocket fire on Iran's al-Quds Force - the foreign arm of the Revolutionary Guard Corps - adding that Israel's anti-missile system intercepted four of the projectiles while the rest did not land in territory it controls.

"We know that comes from the al-Quds Force," army spokesman lieutenant-colonel Jonathan Conricus claimed.

The raids were one of the largest Israeli military operations in recent years and the biggest such assault on Iranian targets, the military said.

The incident came after weeks of rising tensions and followed US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from a key 2015 Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday, a move Israel had long advocated.

Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal has added to tensions and led to a new level of uncertainty over how Iran will respond.