A military vehicle carrying Iranian Zoobin smart bomb (L) and Sagheb missile under pictures of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (R) and Late Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2011.. (photo credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)
Israel used their F-35i stealth fighter jets to conduct attacks on Iranian targets to Iraq in the past month, hitting two Iraqi bases used by Iranian forces and proxies and storing Iranian ballistic missiles, the London-based Saudi daily Al Sharq Al Awsat reported on Tuesday.
The first attack happened on July 19 at a base in Amreli in the Saladin province of Iraq. Iraqi and Iranian sources blamed Israel at the time, and Al Sharq Al Awsat reported that “diplomatic sources” confirmed this to be true, specifying that the attack was carried out by an Israeli F-35.Read More Related Articles
Recommended byAl-Arabiya reported that Iranian-made ballistic missiles were transported to the base shortly before the attack via trucks used to transport refrigerated food. The identity of the aircraft which conducted the attack was unspecified at the time, and the US denied any involvement. Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah members were killed in the air strike, according to Al-Arabiya, however the Iranian-backed al-Hashd ash-Sha’abi (Popular Mobilization Forces – PMF) denied that any Iranians had been killed in the attack, according to Fars.
A source from the IRGC told the Kuwaiti Al Jarida newspaper that preliminary investigations indicate that Israel was behind the attack. An Israeli drone launched from a US base in Syria attacked the base, which stored short- and medium-range missiles.
The IRGC reached this conclusion because the type of missile that hit the camp is the same used by the IAF in attacks on Syria.
Al Sharq Al Awsat also reported that a second attack by Israel on Sunday on a base in Ashraf, Iraq northeast of Baghdad, targeting Iranian advisers who were present at the base and a shipment of ballistic missiles that had arrived shortly before from Iran.
Last week, an explosion killed Hezbollah operative Mashour Zidan in southern Syria and a few days later a rocket struck the strategic Tel Haraa site not far from where Zidan was killed.
Zidan, a Druze resident from the village of Hadar, is believed to have been a senior Hezbollah operative responsible for recruiting volunteers from villages near the border with Israel as part of Hezbollah’s Golan File.
The site has been used by the Syrian army for years to observe Israeli movement, and since the Assad regime re-took the area from rebels last summer, there have been several strikes on the site blamed on Israel.
While the base, which has electronic surveillance capabilities, was supposed to be manned solely by regime troops, pro-Iranian militias including Hezbollah are known to be stationed in it.
Iran has begun moving its assets from areas repeatedly struck by Israel to locations closer to the border with Iraq, specifically the T4 Airbase located between Homs and Palmyra.
In September, Reuters reported that Iran had transferred ballistic missiles to Shi’ite proxies in Iraq over the course of several months and that it is developing the capacity to build more there. The missiles that were said to have been transferred include the Fateh-110, Zolfaqar and Zelzal types, which have ranges of 200-700 km., allowing them to be able to threaten both Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Israel has not commented on the recent strikes.