Extended Range: Israel Reportedly Strikes Iranian Targets in Iraq

Israeli aircraft fight back against terror from above. Illustrative image of F-35. Image courtesy of the US Department of Defense website. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

In a demonstration of Israel’s military reach, the Jewish state reportedly recently struck Iranian targets just 80 kilometers from the Iranian border in the neighboring country of Iraq. Asharq Al-Awsat published details on the strikes, citing western diplomatic sources who said Israeli aircraft hit a base on Sunday housing Iranian advisors and a missile shipment. Furthermore, that’s not the first time Israel has allegedly bombed Iranian targets in Iraq: The report said that on July 19, an Israeli F-35 jet struck an Iranian rocket depot.

Just 10 days before that reported attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu specifically listed the F-35 as a weapon capable of reaching Iran. “Here behind me is the ‘Adir’, the F-35. Recently, Iran has been threatening the destruction of Israel. It would do well to remember that these planes can reach anywhere in the Middle East, including Iran and certainly Syria,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office on July 9.

If true, the attacks in Iraq represent an escalation in Israel’s covert war against Iran, following years of bombing Iranian targets and allies in Syria. Israel has repeatedly said Iran should not be allowed to build a base of operations in Syria, which borders Israel. However, the strikes on Iraq go a country further out and come as tensions between Iran and the West have skyrocketed.

Those tensions include attacks by Iran on international oil shipping and even capturing a British ship. On Monday, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US is working to address that crisis, saying they are “working with the British to find the solution to both (a) right that injustice, and second, prevent it from happening again. So to establish deterrence. That’s the mission set.”

Pompeo, speaking with David Rubenstein, President of the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. in comments published by the State Department, further said they would defend the Straits of Hormuz waterway to protect international oil shipping in the Middle East.

“We’re going to keep them open. We’re going to build out a maritime security plan. Countries from all across the world who have a vested interest in keeping those waterways open will participate,” said Pompeo.

“It will take more time than we wish it would take, but I’m very confident that the world understands its importance, that America is prepared to be a significant part of that, but we need countries from all across the world to assist us in protecting commercial transit. We’ll be successful.”

The top US diplomat made it clear that the pressure has risen on Iran, noting that US sanctions are working, with over 95% of Iranian crude oil shipped globally taken “off the market.”

Said Pompeo, “We are trying to reduce their resources to conduct terror campaigns all around the world, build out their missile systems and their nuclear program, and we’ve been incredibly effective at that.”

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, July 30, 2019)

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