Overnight Iran launched its first direct military operation against Israel, dispatching a drone commanded from the Tiyas Airbase in Syria’s central Homs region [a][b]. The Israelis used an Apache helicopter to intercept and down the drone [c], then sent four jets to destroy the command center (an Israeli military spokesperson confirmed “accurate hits of Iranian UAV control facility” [d]). One of the Israeli F-16s was abandoned by its pilots over Israel, amid what the Israelis describe as “massive Syrian anti-air fire” [e][f]. Syrian anti-aircraft fire reached Israeli territory, triggering extended emergency activities in Israel’s northern communities [g].
Iran and its proxies had been escalating their threats to attack Israel over the last few weeks. Hezbollah threatened to attack Israel for a range of reasons, from energy resource disputes [h] to the Israelis building a border fence [i]. Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ebrahim Raisi, one of the front-runners to be the next Iranian Supreme Leader, toured the Israeli-Lebanese border and boasted about operations to secure “Jerusalem’s liberation” [j]. (hier)