Israel is determined to stop Iran from establishing bases in Syria – Economist
IN THE early hours of April 9th Israeli fighter jets crossed into Lebanese airspace and fired a salvo of cruise missiles eastward. Their target was the T-4 military airbase in central Syria (see map on previous page), not far from the ancient city of Palmyra. More specifically, the missiles were aimed at a hangar in a secluded compound on the west side of the airfield.
The building was used by Iran’s expeditionary Quds Force, the foreign wing of its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Russia and Syria both claimed that they detected the Israeli aircraft and the incoming missiles, and that at least some of them were intercepted. But enough of them got through to cause significant damage and kill at least seven Iranian officers, including a colonel.
The Israeli government has not publicly acknowledged that it was behind the attack.
Since the start of the Syrian war in 2011, Israel has carried out at least 100 cross-border strikes. Most were aimed at weapons convoys and depots belonging to Hizbullah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shia movement.
The latest strike is only the third in which Iranian personnel were directly targeted. The last time Israel hit them was two months earlier, at the same base, after an Iranian drone breached Israel’s airspace. But this strike appeared to be pre-emptive, not reactive.
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