Airstrike attributed to Israel targeted Iranian weapons stores including parts for Iran’s nuclear program.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
A Syrian human rights group said Wednesday that at least 40 people were killed and as many injured in airstrikes attributed to Israel that targeted three different Iranian weapons facilities in eastern Syria on the Iraqi border.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that in the attacks that occurred just after midnight only nine of the dead were Syrians with the rest belonging to “loyal militias of Iranian nationalities other than Syria.”
The SOHR said the attacks extended from the city of Al-Zour city to the Syrian-Iraqi border and targeted ammunition and weapons depots for the regime forces, the Lebanese Hezbollah, Iranian forces and militias loyal to it.
Quoting a senior U.S. intelligence official with knowledge of the attack, the Associated Press reported that the U.S. supplied Israel with intelligence for the airstrikes that “targeted a series of warehouses in Syria that were being used in a pipeline to store and stage Iranian weapons.”
The American official said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met on Monday with the head of Israel’s Mossad spy agency, Yossi Cohen, at a cafe in Washington to discuss the airstrike, adding that the warehouses targeted also served as a pipeline for components that support Iran’s nuclear program.
“I do not know if there is a connection to the visit [to Washington] of the head of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen, nor do I know if it happened,” Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israel Army Radio, adding that there is a “formidable struggle against Iran and its attempts to achieve nuclear weapons and establish themselves in Syria.”
The airstrikes hit targets in the area of the city of Deir Ezzor, as well as warehouses of ammunition and weapons in the Albu Kamal desert and in the Al-Mayadeen desert, the SOHR reported, adding that “this Israeli targeting is the most intense of its kind on Syrian territory, while no response or attempt to confront the Israeli bombing was monitored by the [Syrian] regime’s air defenses.”
According to the SOHR, the city Deir Ezzor, in which several areas have been bombed, and on its outskirts, are under Russian control.
“The arms warehouses for Iranian weaponry & equipment were located in Syria’s Deir Ezzor region on the Iranian-Syrian supply route,” tweeted Lenny Ben-David, a former diplomat with Israel’s Foreign Ministry. “Does Deir Ezzor sound familiar? In 2007 Israel bombed a Syrian-North Korean [nuclear] reactor there. Later the area fell into ISIS hands (imagine what if).”