Iranian Attack on U.S. Base Was Vengeance for Israeli Attacks in Syria, Report Says

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This image provided by the Iranian Army Office in November shows a military drone being fired into the air during a military exercise on the shore of the Oman sea.
This image provided by the Iranian Army Office in November shows a military drone being fired into the air during a military exercise on the shore of the Oman sea.Credit: Iranian Army office / AFP

Senior U.S. and Israeli officials say the Iranian attack on a U.S. base in Syria last month came in response to Israeli operations against Iranian-affiliated targets in the region, the New York Times reported.

The drone strike on the U.S. base, which also housed Syrian opposition forces, was the first time that Iran had attacked American personnel in response to actions by Israel. 

Eight sources in the United States and Israel told the New York Times that most of the 200 soldiers at the U.S. base were evacuated several hours before the attack, based on intelligence provided by Israel.

Three of the five suicide drones failed to explode providing American officials the opportunity to study them, determining they used the same technology as drones used by Iranian backed militias in Iraq. They added that the drones were not launched from Iranian territory. 

The American base is located next to an important road used for the passage of Iranian-backed forces making their way from Tehran to southern Lebanon and the border with Israel.

Although a Pentagon spokesman declined to publicly accuse Iran, U.S. officials said they believed the militias were supplied and guided by Iran in carrying out the attack in response to recent Israeli strikes.

Israel had been accused of attacking prominent Iranian interests in October, such as the assassination of Midhat Saleh, a top-ranking Syrian official who was aiding Iran to establish a military infrastructure on the border of Israel, according to Israeli intelligence.

Last week, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that "there have been several cases in which Iran has been accused without any proof or documents." He added: "Countries that have established military bases in Syria without the permission of Syria's central government, and the continuation of terrorist policies and support for terrorist states, are the real root of the instability in the region and in Syria." 

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