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Senior army officer: Israel targeting Iran forces in Syria

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds up a piece of wreckage he claims is from an Iranian drone that was shot down by Israel on February 10, at the 54th Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Germany on 18 February, 2018 [Andreas Gerbert/Anadolu Agency]
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds up a piece of wreckage he claims is from an Iranian drone that was shot down by Israel on February 10, at the 54th Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Germany on 18 February, 2018 [Andreas Gerbert/Anadolu Agency]

A strike on Syria last week was carried out by Israel in an effort to target Iranian positions in the country, a senior official told the New York Times.

“Israeli jets launched a predawn missile raid on the Iranian drone’s T4 home base last Monday,” renown journalist Thomas Friedman wrote in his column yesterday, adding: “Israel killed seven Iranian Quds Force members, including Col. Mehdi Dehghan, who led the drone unit.”

Israeli Army spokesman, Brigadier General Ronen Manelis had confirmed the details to Friedman, he said.

#AirStrike

The action, the official said, came after “an Iranian drone launched by a Revolutionary Guards Quds Force unit operating out of Syria’s T4 air base, east of Homs in central Syria, was shot down with a missile from an Israeli Apache helicopter that was following it after it penetrated Israeli airspace.”

Though it is generally thought that the drone was carrying out a reconnaissance mission, the official Israeli Army spokesman told Friedman on Friday that the drone’s flight path and Israel’s “intelligence and operational analysis of the parts of the Iranian unmanned vehicle” indicated that “the aircraft was carrying explosives” and that its mission was “an act of sabotage in Israeli territory.”

READ: Syria strikes an ‘important signal’ to Iran and Hezbollah

“This is the first time we saw Iran do something against Israel — not by proxy,” Manelis continued. “This opened a new period.”

“It was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets — both facilities and people,” said the Israeli military source.

Immediately after the Israeli attack, Iran recognised the losses and pledged to take revenge by destroying Tel Aviv, but it said it would choose the appropriate time and place to take revenge.

Friedman expected that Iran is serous in its warning to retaliate, citing “the Iranian admission that its officers were killed in the original strike and their intentionally public and publicised funeral in Tehran—contrary to previous instances of Iranian casualties being severely downplayed by the Islamic republic.”

Russia blamed Israel for the attack and considered it a “dangerous development”. Vladimir Putin called Netanyahu and expressed his rejection of what he described “harming Syrian sovereignty”.

READ: Israel closes Golan airspace after Syria airstrikes

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