Iran has issued a threat against Israel following last weekend's attack on an Iranian drone base in Syria.
"Tel Aviv will be punished for its aggressive action," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi told local press Monday. "The occupying Zionist regime will, sooner or later, receive an appropriate response to its actions."
The strike, which killed seven Iranian military advisors from the country's elite Quds Force in the Syrian city of Homs, has been neither confirmed nor denied by Israel's government. But a senior Israeli official admitted to The New York Times that the event was "the first time we attacked live Iranian targets — both facilities and people."
Amid an already chaotic and internecine war involving numerous parties fighting for their own calculated interests, another conflict is coming into focus: the escalation of clashes between Iran and Israel.
Since 2013, Israel has carried out more than 100 airstrikes in Syria, primarily targeting the Iranian-funded Lebanese militia group Hezbollah and military convoys. This hasn't featured heavily in news headlines, however, as Israel prefers to act in the shadows to reduce the pressure on adversaries to respond, and because Russia, with whom it has good relations, has so far tolerated its military actions.
But the first months of 2018 have seen Israel broaden its intervention to increasingly target its longtime nemesis, Iran, directly.