Tensions escalated over the weekend on Israel’s northern frontier with both Syria and Lebanon, as well as on the country’s southern frontier with the Gaza Strip. Informed Israeli intelligence officials told TV7 that ‘in response to Israel’s alleged bombing of multiple Iranian-proxy installations in Iraq,’ ‘the Islamic Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force,’ Iran’s most elite extraterritorial operations unit, ‘received directives to plan and execute a retaliatory attack against Israeli targets on the Golan Heights, by means of unmanned aerial vehicles loaded with explosives.’ That said, as part of a sophisticated clandestine operation, Israeli intelligence agencies exposed and monitored the Iranian preparations, which according to both the Chief of the IDF Intelligence Directorate, Major General Tamir Heyman, and IDF Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi, were directly led by the Quds Force Chief Commander, General Qassem Suleimani. The Iranian-led operation was originally scheduled for last Thursday, August the 22nd, although after Intelligence agencies monitoring the developments identified that not all of the cell members were present, a decision was made to thwart the operation by means of electronic countermeasure that effectively jammed the drones.
The next day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a conference call with Russian president Vladimir Putin, during which the two leaders “discussed regional developments and the situation in Syria, with emphasis on tightening the military coordination mechanism.” Netanyahu’s conversation with Putin is believed to be connected to the timing of the Israeli attack, which came only two days after the initial failed Iranian attempt to launch its offensive operation. The Israeli attack took place on the night between Saturday and Sunday, when fighter jets targeted “several buildings, militiamen and ammunition depots” in a southern suburb of the Syrian capital between Al-Sayyidah Zaynab and the Damascus International Airport.
Arab media outlets cited heavy aerial traffic of Israeli fighter planes over southern Lebanon during the course of the attack in Syria. Syrian media reported that while its military’s anti-rocket defense system managed to intercept several incoming hostile projectiles, most of the Israeli missiles successfully destroyed their intended targets. Following the attack, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit provided TV7 with aerial images of the Iranian Quds Force installations. Nevertheless, a military source later confirmed to TV7 that the targets actually belonged to the Lebanese Shi’ite militia Hezbollah, which was supposed to carry out the attack for its Iranian patrons against Israel. That said, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu underscored that the planned attack against Israel “was an Iranian initiative.” During a tour of Israel’s border area with Syria, Netanyahu reiterated a biblical principle, “if someone rises up to kill you, kill him first. Prime Minister Netanyahu also seized the opportunity to declare that “henceforth” Israel will expose any Iranian attempt to attack the Jewish State, in efforts to expose Tehran’s true intentions.