Iran’s recent missile attack on ISIS targets in eastern Syria represents another escalation in the ongoing war between radical Shi’ites and jihadist Sunnis across the Middle East.
Iran, which is leading an array of heavily armed Shi’ite proxies and militias deployed in the region, fired a volley of six to seven missiles at targets located 700 kilometers away. It was in retaliation for deadly ISIS terror attacks earlier this month on Tehran’s parliament and a shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini, who founded the Islamic Republic.
Israeli sources have reportedly said that most of the missiles missed their targets.
But more missile strikes could follow. Despite Tehran’s rhetoric, however, those strikes will not target strong states in the region any time soon, a senior defense expert told the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).
The Syrian strikes mark the first time Iran fired surface-to-surface missiles outside of testing programs since the Iran-Iraq war, nearly 30 years ago, said Tal Inbar, head of the Space and UAV Research Center at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Herzliya, Israel.
“In this respect, there is perhaps a certain crossing of a psychological line. Ballistic missiles are seen as strategic weapons that are rarely used,” he said.
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