By Middle East Affairs
The Israeli air strike last week on the T4 air base in Syria was on an advanced Iranian air-defense system and not just attack drone deployment, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The news organization said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had also spoken with U.S. President Donald Trump before ordering the strike “in hopes of preventing Iran from using the anti-aircraft battery against Israeli jets carrying out strikes in Syria.”
Earlier this week, a senior Israeli military official admitted in The New York Times that Israel had targeted T4, and that “it was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets – both facilities and people.”
That attack killed seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force members.
Previously in February, Israel had shot down in its airspace what it said was an Iranian armed drone that had launched from Syria, and then retaliated by carrying out air strikes in Syria. In that strike, an Israeli F16 jet was shot down, though the pilot survived.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Iran began boosting its air defenses following that incident.
The Israeli official who spoke with The New York Times said that the incident “opened a new period,” and that “this is the first time we saw Iran do something against Israel – not by proxy.”
The Wall Street Journal said after that incident, Israel tracked an Iranian plane flying a Tor missile system from Tehran to T4. Israel then moved quickly to destroy Iran’s new defense system “before it could be set up,” citing intelligence officials.