Merkava Mark IV tanks are deployed next to cows near the Syrian border in the Israel-annexed Golan Heights on May 10, 2018. AFP / MENAHEM KAHANA
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Deadly strikes by Israel against alleged Iranian sites in Syria have raised fears of a dramatic escalation in regional conflict, but the situation remains shrouded by conflicting accounts and uncertainty.Israel says its raids early Thursday were in immediate response to Iranian missiles raining down on the occupied Golan Heights.Israel has repeatedly warned that it considers an entrenched Iranian military presence in war-ravaged Syria to be a dangerous red line.Israel, too, may feel emboldened by U.S. President Donald Trump's decision this week to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.Analysts based in Tehran deny Iran is seeking out direct conflict with Israel.Foad Izadi, of the world affairs department at the University of Tehran, said Iran was not in Syria to fight Israel – however often the Israelis may say otherwise.Keeping scoreIsrael is thought to have conducted at least three separate attacks against Iranian positions in Syria in recent weeks, with the deadliest killing seven Iranians in a Syrian airbase on April 9 .Marandi said most of the rockets from Syria had penetrated Israel's "Iron Dome" defenses and hit key sites, including intelligence-gathering centers.
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