In a first-of-its-kind admission of responsibility, unnamed IDF source confirms to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman strike on drone base was carried out by Israel, ‘first time live Iranian targets’ were hit; Friedman reveals one of strike’s casualties was commander of Quds Force’s drone unit.
A senior IDF official confirmed to the New York Times in an article published Monday that the strike on the Tiyas Military Airbase in Syria’s Homs last week was intended to hit Iranian installations and personnel.Speaking to the newspaper’s senior analyst Thomas Friedman, the officer said the attack—which claimed the lives of seven Iranian soldiers—was “the first time we attacked live Iranian targets—both facilities and people.”
In the rare admission of Israeli culpability for a strike, the officer told Friedman, “This is the first time we saw Iran do something against Israel, not by proxy. This opened a new period.”
The IDF recently released a statement saying the drone was carrying explosives and was intended to be used to carry out a terror attack on Israeli soil.
The Times’ analysis piece, titled “The Real Next War in Syria: Iran vs. Israel”, noted that one of the Iranian casualties in the strike on the T-4 base was Col. Mehdi Dehghan, leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’s Quds Force’s drone unit.
Global attention was diverted from the Israeli attack, Friedman wrote, and focused on the lead-up to the American-led strike on the Syrian chemical weapons facilities, the strike itself and its aftermath.
By unveiling last week that the Iranian drone that entered the Jordan Valley through Syrian airspace two months ago was to be used to carry out an attack in the country, Israel wanted to send a message to all of the actors involved—chiefly Russia—regarding the fact that Iran is not directly operating against Israel in belligerent actions both on and above the ground.
The IDF is therefore permitted to do its part to stop the Iranian entrenchment in Syria, as per the Times’ columnist.However, Israel was still doing its due diligence to prevent a possible Iranian retaliatory strike by sending messages through indirect channels, conveying the reasons such a strike will only harm all those involved.If such a strike was to take place, Israel believed, Iranians in Syria will once again be attacked, Syria itself will be punished for allowing the retaliation to be launched from its territory and Russia will be find it hard to attain stability in Syria so long as Iran is using it as staging grounds for terrorism.