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Israeli military official confirms airstrikes over Syria

20 April 2018

This question has gained traction in recent days after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah sent Israel a warning, proclaiming that "Tehran will not stand idly by while Israel attacks its bases in Syria". It made that clear in 2013, when it held back from military action and, more importantly, said that even if it had intervened it would only have been in a limited way. Russian Federation and Syria said it was carried out by Israeli warplanes. That consensus is probably correct, but if it was Israel, it had nothing to do with Assad's chemical weapons attack the day before.

Iran has threatened to punish Israel for its airstrikes in Syria, after reports emerged that an unnamed Israeli military official had confirmed his country was behind an attack on an Iranian drone base in Homs province. "Escalation between Iran, Hezbollah and Israel may be the greatest risk for escalation in Syria today", Kaye warned.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said Israel can not accept Iran entrenching itself militarily in neighbouring Syria, where Tehran is supporting President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

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Iran does not have nuclear weapons to counter Israel's own arsenal, which the government has never admitted to but is widely assumed to exist, she added.

Friedman described the seven Iranians killed as members of the Qods Force, a branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps that oversees operations overseas, and one of them as a commander of a drone unit. "Allowing Iran to strengthen itself in Syria is like accepting that the Iranians strangle us".

An unnamed a commander from the regional military alliance supporting the Assad regime told the Reuters news agency hours later that a cyber attack had triggered a "false alarm" that resulted in a number of air defense missiles being fired, and there had been no attack on Syria.

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Earlier this week, a senior Israeli military official admitted to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman that Israel targeted T4, adding that "it was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets - both facilities and people". The U.S. ground presence in Syria is very limited and located in the northeast of the country - far removed from Israel's border with Syria. Tracking from Lebanon into Syria is another indication that the attack came from Israel.

In an unusual move, Iran's state-run media admitted that seven of its "soldiers" were killed in the April 9 strike.

The aerial intelligence photos supposedly illustrate how Tehran remains capable of flying in surface-to-surface missiles as well as unmanned aerial vehicles to the war-torn country under the guise of humanitarian aid.

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Israeli military official confirms airstrikes over Syria