By Safvan Allahverdi and Diyar Guldogan
ADDS NEW REMARKS FROM STATE DEP, CHANGES HEADLINE
WASHINGTON (AA) - The U.S. was "deeply" concerned about Saturday's escalation of violence over Israel's border and "strongly" supported Israel's sovereign right to defend itself, the State Department said.
Earlier Saturday, the Israeli army said its forces shot down an Iranian drone launched from Syria and also hit several targets inside the war-torn neighboring country.
"Iran's calculated escalation of threat and its ambition to project its power and dominance, places all the people of the region -- from Yemen to Lebanon -- at risk," spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
She said: "The U.S. continues to push back on the totality of Iran's malign activities in the region and calls for an end to Iranian behavior that threatens peace and stability."
Describing Israel as "a staunch ally" of the U.S., she emphasized Washington's support on Israel's right to defend itself from the Iranian-backed Syrian militia forces in southern Syria.
"We call on Iran and its allies to cease provocative actions and work toward regional peace," she added.
Iran denied the allegation, describing Israeli statements about shooting down an Iranian drone as “lies”.