The strike on a Syrian military base near Hama on Sunday was carried out by Israeli F-15 fighter jets after Iran had transferred a shipment of anti-aircraft missiles there, three U.S. officials told NBC News. The officials said Israel seems to be preparing for open warfare with Iran and is seeking U.S. support.
The Syrian army said early on Monday that "enemy" rockets struck military bases belonging to Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime. According to several outlets, the strikes targeted the 47th Brigade base in the southern Hama district, a military facility in northwestern Hama and a facility north of the Aleppo International Airport.
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Citing unnamed American sources, the report said Iran has delivered wepons to the military base, including surface-to-air missiles, adding that Iran in the past two weeks has increased cargo flights to Syria with weapons shipments, which includes small arms and anti-aircraft missiles. The report says two U.S. officials believe that the shipments are intended for Iranian ground forces that would attack Israel.
An official from a regional alliance including Iran, Hezbollah and Syria, said Monday that the strikes killed 16 people, among them 11 Iranians, according to a New York Times report on Monday. The report said the bombardment also destroyed 200 missiles. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity, as he was permitted to speak to the press.
"On the list of the potentials for most likely live hostility around the world, the battle between Israel and Iran in Syria is at the top... right now," one senior U.S. official is quoted in the NBC News report as saying.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Tuesday that Israel on Tuesday morning had four problems, one more than the day before: "Iran, Iran, Iran and hypocrisy."
The comment came one day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed a cache of documents the Mossad stole from Iran detailing the country's nuclear program.
"This is the same Iran that cracks down on freedom of expression and on minorities. The same Iran that tried to develop nuclear weapons and entered the [nuclear] deal for economic benefits,” Lieberman said.
“The same Iran is trying to hide its weapons while everyone ignores it. The state of Israel cannot ignore Iran's threats, Iran, whose senior officials promise to wipe out Israel,” he said. “They are trying to harm us, and we’ll have a response.
Iran's Defense Minister Amir Khatami threatened Israel on Tuesday, saying it should stop its "dangerous behavior" and vowing that the "Iranian response will be surprising and you will regret it." Khatami's remarks came Following Netanyahu's speech which Khatami described as Israeli "provocative actions," and two days after the strikes in Syria.