The Israeli military targeted an advanced Iranian air-defense system at the T4 base in Syria last week and not just attack drone deployment, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
The report noted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the strike after conferring with U.S. President Donald Trump, in hopes of preventing Iran from using the anti-aircraft battery against Israeli jets carrying out strikes in Syria.
Haaretz previously reported that the strike apparently targeted armaments aside from the drones, which could have reduced the Israel Air Force’s freedom of operation in Syrian airspace.
T4 Syrian Air Force Base.Google / DigitalGlobe
Earlier this week, a senior Israeli military official admitted to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman that Israel targeted T4, adding that "it was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets – both facilities and people."
According to the Wall Street Journal, Iran began bolstering air defenses following an escalation triggered by Iran sending an armed drone into Israeli airspace. Israel shot down the drone and retaliated with strikes in Syria, during which an Israeli F-16 war plane was downed.
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The Israeli official told the New York Times that the incident "opened a new period," adding that "this is the first time we saw Iran do something against Israel – not by proxy."
– Iran’s Tor air-defense missile system
Here in this article sources of WSJ said what was targeted by #Israel AF in #T4 / #Tiyas AB was #IRGC|ASF's Tor M1 SAM which had been deployed days before. While my sources say a "3rd Khordad" had been deployed a day before. Possible boss SAMs were there.https://t.co/FcP5dYkiM1 pic.twitter.com/FSQR7QqGl5
— Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) April 18, 2018
The Wall Street Journal reported that Israel tracked an Iranian plane flying a Tor missile system from Tehran to T4 following the flare-up. The report notes that Israel moved quickly to destory Iran’s new defense system before it could be set up, citing intelligence officials.
Seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force members, including drone unit commander Colonel Mehdi Dehgan, were killed in the strikes on T4.