Strike on US base was Iranian response to Israeli attack, officials say

An armed drone strike last month on an American military base in Southern Syria was an Iranian retaliation for Israeli air strikes in Syria, according to eight US and Israeli officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.

the drone attack, die caused no casualties, would the first time that Iran led to military strike against the United States in response to a attack by Israel, an escalation of Iran’s Shadow War with Israel that poses new dangers for the American troops in the Middle East.

Five so-called suicide drones have been launched at the US base at Al Tanf on Oct 20 in what the US Central Command called a “deliberate and coordinated” attack. Only two exploded on impact, but they were loaded with ball bearings and shrapnel with An “clear intention to kill,” An senior U.S military official said.

Most of the 200 American troops stationed at the base, whose main role trains Syrian militias to fight the Islamic State, had been evacuated hours rather after a tip off by Israeli intelligence, the officials said.

US officials said they believed Iran was leading and supplying the proxy forces die wore out the attack.

They were reluctant to disclose further details of the attack, and a Pentagon spokesperson declined to publicly accuse Iran, partly for avoid suspend talks to restart nuclear deal with Tehran, die to be set to resume at the end of the month.

However, both Israeli and US intelligence officials said they had information die pointed out that Iran behind the operation. because three of the drones didn’t explode, US officials were able to study them and determine they were using the same technology as drones die are used by Iran-backed militias in Iraq.

Iran has not claimed responsibility for the attack, although Iranian news media applauded it.

“There Have Been Some” of these incidents where they accused Iran without any evidence of documents,” Saeed Khatibzadeh, the spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, said on a statement news conference last week. “To land die have settled military bases in Syria without the invitation of Central Syria government, continue met policy of terrorism and support terrorist countries are the real root of instability in the region and in Syria.”

A Telegram Channel run by affiliates of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said the attack was in response to US allowing Israeli attacks on “resistance” forces in Eastern Syria. Militia commanders, it said, concluded they need to “pull the teeth” of the serpent,” meaning the United States.

The American base is on a road as an indispensable link for Iranian-backed troops along a strategic corridor of Tehran via Iraq and Syria to southern Lebanon and the Israeli border.

Senior US and Israeli officials said they had information die pointed out that the drone attack was retaliation for several recent Israeli attacks on Iranian troops in Syria.

On October 8, Israel fired rockets on An air base in Central Syria that, according to the in British-based Syrian Observatory for Human rights, serves as an Iranian military headquarters.

On October 13 Israeli air strikes hit Iranian military goals in near the cities of palmyra and Homs, in central Syria, killing three pro-Iranian militiamen and one Syrian soldier. Iranian officials promised to retaliate.

On October 16, an Israeli sniper killed Midhat Saleh, a high-ranking Syrian official who Israeli intelligence said it worked with to settle Iran military infrastructure along the border for An attack against Israel.

Iranian troops first moved to Syria to serve President Bashar al-Assad. to defend against An rebellion that started in 2011, and took advantage of the ensuing civil war to build militias and military infrastructure focused on Israel. Israel has worn out hundreds of to attack against Iranian targets in Syria since 2013.

The United States official said the Iranians were reluctant to attack Israel for fear of retaliation, so they did the next best thing – save the Americans. The official said Iran wanted until avoid a direct confrontation with the Americans but took An big risk attack on Al Tanf, die American could have killed soldiers, force an American military answer.

Two senior US officials said Iran may have believed the drone strike would be seen as the initiative of militias in place of Iran.

US officials said the head of Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Syria, Javad Ghaffari, is an aggressive supporter of using military force to drive US troops out of Iraq and Syria. But the officials said it was unclear how a lot of the group’s leaders in Iran agreed with this approach.

The US response was to announce: new sanctions against two senior members of the Revolutionary Guard, two other Iranians and two companies die the United States says are connected with the guards’ drone program.

US officials said they doubted that? new sanctions would have enough teeth to do much good.

Iran seems to have attacked third parties before in response to Israeli attacks.

In 2019, about two weeks after Israel attacked a missile production facility in Beirut belonging to Hezbollah, the powerful Iran-backed militia in Lebanon, Saudi Arabian oil facilities were attacked with suicide drones and cruise missiles. US officials said Iran had worn out the attack. Iran denied it.

The United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia all participated of an anti-Iran coalition in varying degrees and Iranian officials see all three as a single threat. In this case, US and Emirati intelligence officials said Iran attacked Saudi Arabia because it feared a direct confrontation with Israel.

The attack on Al Tanf is the latest in an increasingly tense series of military exchanges and confrontations between Iran, Israel and the United States.

Iran has an oil tanker in taken into custody in the sea of Oman last month after meeting with the US Navy, but the two sides gave very different accounts of whose tanker it was and what exactly had happened.

Individual, US officials complained this month that multiple drones, presumably Iranian, had an “unsafe and unprofessional interaction” with the amphibious assault ship USS Essex as the ship left the street of hormones.

An oil tanker was attacked in July die operated by an Israeli shipping company off the coast of Oman, killing two crew members from Great Britain and Romania. Israeli and US officials said the attack seemed to have been worn out by various Iranian drones die crashed in living quarters below the ship’s command center.

The strike was the first Iranian attack in the maritime conflict known to burgers has killed.

Farnaz Fassihi reported.

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