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Iran: Fighters killed in Syria strike 'won't go unanswered'

Khamenei's advisor Ali Akbar Velayati blamed Israel for the attack in Syria [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 April, 2018

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Seven Iranian soldiers were killed in an air strike in Syria's Homs province on Monday, an attack blamed on Tehran's arch enemy Israel.
Iran has warned an air strike in Syria which killed seven of its soldiers will not go unanswered.

Iranian media reported that the bodies of seven fighters had been flown back to Tehran for burial following Monday's strike against the T-4 air base in Homs province. 

Syria, Russia and Iran have blamed Israel for the attack, which Tehran had initially said killed four military advisors.

"The Zionist regime's attack on Syria will not go unanswered," said Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign policy advisor to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.

Velayati was speaking on arrival in Damascus where he was due to meet President Bashar al-Assad, according to ISNA.

Israel has not responded to accusations it carried out the air strike. However defence minister Avigdor Lieberman told journalists on Tuesday it would "not allow Iranian entrenchment in Syria no matter the price to pay."

"We have no other option. Allowing Iran to strengthen itself in Syria is like accepting that the Iranians strangle us," he added.

Israel has sought to avoid direct involvement in Syria's seven-year civil war, but it acknowledges carrying out dozens of air strikes there to stop what it says are advanced arms deliveries to its enemy Hizballah, the Lebanese Shia group that, along with Iran and Russia, is backing Assad's regime.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hit back at US President Donald Trump, who has said Russia and Iran share the blame for an alleged chemical attack on Saturday which killed dozens of civilians, including children, in the besieged rebel-held town of Douma.

Iran "has consistently condemned use of chemical weapons by anyone (and) is itself the victim of their use by Saddam with US support," Zarif wrote on Twitter, referring to chemical attacks during Iran's war with Iraq in the 1980s. 

Trump's "threats to repeat impulsive acts of aggression is symptomatic of US policy helping extremists," Zarif added. 

The US president has threatened a "forceful" response to the massacre, to be revealed imminently.

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