American officials quoted by NBC news maintain that Israel was behind Sunday’s strike on Syrian targets, which eliminated dozens of Iranian military personnel.
Commenting on an airstrike on the Syrian city of Hama on Sunday, which killed dozens of Iranian soldiers and took out a spate of arms delivered by Iran, three US officials told NBC news that Israel was behind the operation. The officials also pointed to the most recent Syrian airstrike as evidence that Israel and Iran are approaching an open conflict.
The American officials claim that Israeli F-15s targeted Hama because Iran had recently delivered weapons to a Syrian base there occupied by Iran’s 47th Brigade. These weapons reportedly included surface-to-air missiles.
The latest shipment is part of a two-week spike in Iranian military cargo flights to Syria, which ferry missiles, small arms, and ammunition to Assad’s brutal regime. Some US officials also believe the weapons are intended for Iranian ground forces in Syria seeking to strike Israel. Such Iranian shipments have been on the US’ radar for years, with the Hezbollah terrorist group in Syria, which defends the Assad regime, remaining a key recipient of Iranian arms and infrastructure support.
The US officials quoted by NBC claimed that Israel is preparing for military action, ideally with the US’ support.
On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared to CNN that while “nobody” wants war, Israel must “take a stand” against Iranian aggression, a posture which Netanyahu deemed “the way to prevent war.”
US Defense Secretary James Mattis and Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman spoke at the Pentagon last week about Iran’s activity in Syria.
“The Iranian forces … or the proxy forces have tried to get down closer to the Israeli border, I mean very close to it, and you’ve seen Israel take action over that,” said Mattis to NBC, discussing the mounting tensions.
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