Most of the 200 American troops stationed at the base were evacuated just hours before the strike after being tipped off by Israeli intelligence.
By Tobias Siegal, World Israel News
A drone attack that targeted a U.S. military base in southern Syria last month was carried out by Iran as retaliation for Israeli airstrikes against Iranian military targets, the New York Times reported Friday.
Quoting eight American and Israeli intelligence officials on the condition of anonymity, the Times noted that the attack would be the first time Iran carries out a military operation against the U.S. in response to an Israeli action, marking a further escalation in the “shadow war” between Israel and Iran.
The drone attack took place on October 20 and targeted U.S. troops stationed at the Tanf outpost. Despite the “deliberate and coordinated” attack, as the U.S. Central Command called it, that included five suicide drones packed with ball bearings and shrapnel with a “clear intent to kill,” the attack cause no casualties.
Officials acquainted with the incident, told the Times that most of the 200 American troops stationed at the base were evacuated just hours before the strike after being tipped off by Israeli intelligence.
American officials had the opportunity to examine three of the drones that did not explode upon impact, the Times noted, reaching the conclusion that they were identical to drones used by Iran-backed militias in Iraq.
However, despite this and other reports pointing to Iran as the culprit, the Pentagon has so far declined to publicly blame Tehran for the direct attack, possibly in order to avoid increased tensions ahead of the Iranian nuclear talks scheduled to resume at the end of November.
While Iran has not officially claimed responsibility for the attack, Iranian media has applauded it.