Report: Israel targeted Iranian system in Syria strike

Intelligence officials say the Israeli military targeted an advanced Iranian air-defense system at a Syrian base in Homs last week.

Elad Benari,

Explosion in Syria (archive)
Explosion in Syria (archive)

The Israeli military targeted an advanced Iranian air-defense system at a Syrian base in Homs last week, intelligence officials told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

According to the report, the strike took place with tacit American support.

After conferring with President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ordered a strike on the newly arrived antiaircraft battery to prevent Iranian forces from using it against Israeli warplanes carrying out increasing numbers of operations in Syria, the unnamed sources said.

Israeli officials told the Trump administration about the planned strike in advance so that the U.S. was aware of their plans to directly target an Iranian base, according to two people briefed on the plans.

Seven Iranian personnel were killed in the early morning strike on the T-4 airbase in Homs last week.

Israeli leaders have not publicly said that Israel was responsible for the strike. Netanyahu last week alluded to Israel’s role, saying it reserved the right to use preemptive strikes against threats to its security.

“We have one clear and simple rule and we seek to express it constantly: If someone tries to attack you – rise up and attack him," said Netanyahu, referencing the Talmudic dictum of “when someone plans to kill you, get up early and kill him first”.

Russia, Iran and Syria have all accused Israel of carrying out the Homs strike. Iran has threatened to hit back at Israel.

On Tuesday, Israeli security officials revealed that Iran is now preparing for a direct assault on Israel, using its growing military assets on Israel’s northern border to strike targets inside the Jewish state.

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