Khamenei meets with Iranian soldiers, praises its Israel strike

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamanei is pictured talking with Iranian troops on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Ali Khamenei/Twitter

April 21 (UPI) -- Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei met with Iranian soldiers on Sunday as he praised Iran's direct strike on Israel, largely foiled by the iron dome, which came in retaliation for Israel's unprovoked aggression in Damascus, Syria.

"I sincerely appreciate the armed forces efforts and achievements in Operation 'True Promise' that was carried out against the Zionist regime," Khamenei said in a statement on social media.

"In Operation True Promise, the armed forces showed a good image of their capabilities and power and an admirable image of the Iranian nation. They also proved the emergence of the power of the Iranian nation's determination at the international level."

Khamenei said that the achievements of the Iranian military have "created a sense of splendor and magnificence" among international observers. His comments made no reference to an alleged Israeli air strike on the city of Isfahan in Iran on Friday.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, the far-right Israeli politician who lives in an illegal settlement in the West Bank, had blasted the strike against Isfahan as "feeble."

Israel threatened to again attack Iran after the latter launched some 300 rockets and drones prompted by Israel's unprovoked decision to bomb a consulate building in Damascus, killing a top Iranian general.

Amid its war in Gaza, Israel has been escalating broader tensions with its Middle Eastern neighbors -- which has led even the United States to call for restraint.

The United States, however, did respond with fresh sanctions to punish Iran for retaliating against Israel.