Tehran (AFP) – Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said Monday missiles it fired into Syria had successfully hit Islamic State group targets in retaliation for Tehran attacks claimed by the jihadists earlier this month.
“Based on credible information, the missile operation against Daesh has been successful,” Revolutionary Guards spokesman General Ramezan Sharif said on the elite force’s Sepahnews website, using an Arabic acronym for IS.
The Guards fired six missiles from the west of Iran across the border and into Syria’s mostly IS-held Deir Ezzor province, targeting an IS command base, they said earlier.
Sunday’s strike came after twin attacks in Tehran on June 7 killed 17 people, in the first attacks in Iran claimed by IS.
State television said the attack killed an IS commander, a Saudi national named Saad al-Hosseini, known as Abu Saad.
The missile attack was the first by Iran outside its own territory in 30 years, since the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88, media in the Islamic republic has reported.
“Iran’s missile capability protects its citizens in lawful self-defence and advances common global fight to eradicate ISIS and extremist terror,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet, using another acronym for IS.
General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, the deputy commander of the armed forces, said: “Our defence is no longer limited to Iran’s territorial borders.”
“Our battlefield will be wherever there is a threat,” local media quoted him as saying.
General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who heads the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace wing, earlier told state television: “The missiles were fired from Iran and they passed over Iraq and landed in Syria.”
“Drones flying from near Damascus to Deir Ezzor transmitted (footage of) missiles hitting their targets,” he said.
“Firing these missiles from 600 or 700 kilometres (370 or 430 miles) away onto a small building… demonstrates Iran’s capacity and intelligence capabilities” against jihadist groups, he said.
The missile strike came hours after supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a statement vowed Iran would “slap its enemies” in honour of the families of victims, including those killed in Syria and Iraq.
Iranian media reported some of the mid-range missiles fired into Syria were of the Zolfaghar type, a precision-guided missile with a range of about 750 kilometres.
Iran’s homegrown missiles, a serious point of contention with Washington and Tel Aviv, can reach up to 2,000 kilometres.