Israel Admits to Striking Syria: 'It Was the First Time We Attacked Live Iranian Targets'

A senior Israeli military official tells The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman: 'It was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets — both facilities and people' ■ The official notes that the armed Iranian drone that entered Israeli airspace 'opened a new period'

T4 Syrian Air Force Base
Google / DigitalGlobe

A senior Israeli military official admitted to The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman that Israel targeted the Iranian drone command center at the T4 air base in Syria last week. “It was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets — both facilities and people,” said the Israeli military official.

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The official noted that the armed Iranian drone that entered Israeli airspace "opened a new period," saying that “this is the first time we saw Iran do something against Israel — not by proxy."

Destruction to T4 base in Syria, as distributed by Iran.

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Photos of Iranian drones and control center, released by Israel after it struck T-4 air base in Feb.
IDF Spokesperson's Unit

During the attack, Israel killed seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds force members, including Colonel Mehdi Dehghan, who led the drone unit operating out of T4, east of Homs.

Two months ago, an Israeli F-16 war plane that carried out airstrikes on the Syrian air base was shot down after it struck targets in Syria in response to an Iranian drone that infiltrated Israeli airforce. 

The downed Iranian drone was armed with explosives and on its way to carry out an attack, the Israeli military said.

According to IDF spokesman, Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, 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.”

Iranian presence in Syria