(photo credit: REUTERS)
Iran's defense minister said Israel and the Islamic State are both carrying out the same mission in the Middle East by killing innocent people and demolishing economic infrastructures, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported Sunday.
Speaking during a meeting with his Lebanese counterpart in Tehran on Saturday, Brig.-Gen. Hossein Dehqan said ISIS and Israel are two sides of the same coin, seeking to weaken the anti-Zionism resistance movements in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.
Dehqan was speaking with Lebanese Defense Minister Samir Moqbel about increased military cooperation between Tehran and Beirut.
According to Fars, "Several reports, photos and footage have shown that Israeli hospitals are treating the injured ISIL militants fighting in Syria."
The report further claimed that Kurdish forces had found Israeli supplies and equipment at Islamic State terrorist hideouts in the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Kirkuk.
The fiercest fighting in days shook the Syrian border town of Kobani overnight when Islamic State fighters attacked Kurdish forces with mortars and car bombs, sources in the town and a monitoring group said on Sunday.
Islamic State, which controls much of Syria and Iraq, fired 44 mortars at Kurdish parts of the town on Saturday, some of which fell inside nearby Turkey, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. It said four more were fired on Sunday.
The month-long battle for Kobani has ebbed and flowed. A week ago, Kurds warned the town would fall imminently and the US-led coalition stepped up air strikes on Islamic State, which wants to take Kobani to consolidate its position in northern Syria.
The coalition has been bombing Islamic State targets in Iraq since August and extended the campaign to Syria in September after Islamic State, a group that espouses a rigid interpretation of Islam and initially focused on fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces, made huge territorial gains.
Raids on Islamic State around Kobani have been stepped up, with the fate of the town seen as an important test for US President Barack Obama's campaign against the Islamists.
NATO member Turkey, whose forces are ranged along the border overlooking Kobani, is a reluctant member of the coalition, insisting the allies should also confront Assad to end a civil war that has killed close to 200,000 people since March 2011.
"We had the most intense clashes of days, perhaps a week last night. [Islamic State] attacked from three different sides including the municipality building side and the market place," said Abdulrahman Gok, a journalist in Kobani.
"Clashes did not stop until the morning. We have had an early morning walk inside the city and have seen lots of damaged cars on the streets and unexploded mortar shells," he said.Reuters contributed to this report.