Pompeo concerned by reported Iranian missile transfer
Israel yesterday signalled that it could attack suspected Iranian military assets in Iraq, as it has done with scores of air strikes in war-torn Syria.
Citing Iranian, Iraqi and Western sources, Reuters reported last week that Iran had transferred short-range ballistic missiles to Shia allies in Iraq in recent months. Tehran and Baghdad formally denied that report.
Israel sees in Iran's regional expansion an attempt to open up new fronts against it. Israel has repeatedly launched attacks in Syria to prevent any entrenchment of Iranian forces helping Damascus in the war.
"We are certainly monitoring everything that is happening in Syria and, regarding Iranian threats, we are not limiting ourselves just to Syrian territory. This also needs to be clear," Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman told a conference hosted and aired live by the Israel Television News Company.
Asked if that included possible action in Iraq, Lieberman said: "I am saying that we will contend with any Iranian threat, and it doesn't matter from where it comes ... Israel's freedom is total. We retain this freedom of action."
There was no immediate response from the government of Iraq, which is technically at war with Israel, nor from US Central Command in Washington, which oversees US military operations in Iraq.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday he was "deeply concerned" by the reported Iranian missile transfer.
"If true, this would be a gross violation of Iraqi sovereignty and of UNSCR 2231," he tweeted, referring to a UN Security Council resolution endorsing the 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran. The Trump administration abandoned that deal in May, citing, among other factors, Iran's ballistic missile projects.