Satellite images released yesterday by ImageSat International (ISI) showed the impact of an airstrike, blamed on Israel, on a missile base in Syria on Saturday evening that reportedly killed Iranian personnel.
“The main industrial structures were completely destroyed, including the main hangar and the adjacent three production hangers and buildings. The rest of the structures were affected and damaged by the blast,” ISI said. Syria opposition sources said Israeli aircraft approached from the Mediterranean Sea and fired their missiles from Lebanese airspace at a military training college and a base that is run by Iranians and also houses Hezbollah troops.
The Syrian news agency, SANA, reported the attack but claimed: “Some of the missiles that were fired by the Israeli enemy were repelled by Syrian army troops even before landing”. SANA said the target was a “research centre”. ISI said the site is believed to be an Iranian factory producing precise surface-to-surface missiles on Syrian soil. The ISI images show S-300 anti-aircraft batteries operated by the Assad regime as well as an S-400 battery operated by the Russian military.
Rami Abdel Rahman, the commander of the Medium Range Missile Development Centre, said yesterday: “Iranian military personnel were killed in the Israeli attack.” Subsequent reports from foreign accounts said at least two Iranians were killed in the airstrike.
Israel has launched hundreds of attacks in Syria in recent years. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday at a remembrance ceremony for fallen soldiers: “We are not prepared to allow someone to entrench themselves in a way that endangers Israel. Strength is the guarantee of our existence and is the crucial and basic condition for achieving peace with our neighbours.”
Writing in Yediot Ahronoth, Alex Fishman believes the two air strikes that were recently blamed on Israel — two days ago and a month ago — probably would not have passed without public Russian comment had Israel not accepted the Russian demand of a new memorandum of understanding designed to reduce possible friction and improve early warning between between Israeli and Russian armed forces operating in Syria.