U.S. supports Israel's right to defend itself: Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself against threats, a Pentagon spokesman said after Israel said it struck 12 Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria, including Syrian air defense systems.

“The (U.S.) Department of Defense did not participate in this military operation,” Pentagon spokesman Adrian Rankine-Galloway said. “Israel is our closest security partner in the region and we fully support Israel’s inherent right to defend itself against threats to its territory and its people.”

Israel launched the air strikes after anti-aircraft fire downed an Israeli F-16 warplane returning from a bombing raid on Iran-backed positions in Syria on Saturday.

“We share the concerns of many throughout the region that Iran’s destabilizing activities that threaten international peace and security, and we seek greater international resolve in countering Iran’s malign activities,” Rankine-Galloway said.

Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Bill Trott