JERUSALEM, Israel – Syrian media says Israel carried out airstrikes Tuesday evening on a military airbase in Homs believed to have been used by Iran.
The Syria State SANA news agency reports that Israel attacked the main T4 airbase in Homs province around 10:00 p.m., causing only material damage. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, three Iranians or fighters in Iranian-backed militias were killed in the strike. Several others are in critical condition.
“The Israeli airforce conducted new aerial aggression and immediately our air defenses confronted the enemy missiles,” an army statement said.
The Israel Defense Forces does not typically comment on reports about its operations in other countries.
SANA reports that four Israeli missiles hit the base, but several others were intercepted.
According to the Syrian army, the Israeli jets flew from the Tanf region to the southeast, where the US has set up a base near Syria's borders with Iraq and Jordan.
Tanf is strategic because it is located near the Damascus-Baghdad highway, which Iran uses to supply weapons to proxies in Syria.
Tuesday evening’s attack is the first one Syria has accused Israel of carrying out since the United States killed Iranian Quds Forces General Qassem Soleimani.
The Times of Israel reports that an Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence assessment given to the government this week said Soleimani’s slaying could give Israel the opportunity to stop Iran from further entrenching itself in Syria. Israel believes Soleimani was the main figure behind Iran’s attempts to embed itself in Syria and other parts of the Middle East.
The IDF has repeatedly carried out airstrikes against Iranian forces in Syria and Israeli defense officials claim Iran uses the T4 airbase in the country.
In February 2018, an Israeli jet was destroyed during an attack on the base. Just a few months later in April, Israel attacked the base again and killed several Iranians.