World Events

Israel: War of Words Escalates to Physical War

For years, Israel and Iran have been sparring in a war of words as they bristle and posture against each other’s threats.  Now the gloves are coming off.

Early Saturday morning Golan Heights residents awoke to the sound of air raid sirens.  This time it wasn’t Hamas or Hezbollah firing rockets.  An unmanned Iranian drone entered Israeli air space from Palmyra, Syria.   After a short 90 seconds, the threat was eliminated, according Arutz Sheva 7.

Israel’s response was swift.  According to IAF Chief of Staff Tomer Bar, “The IDF response constitutes a severe blow to the Syrian air force’s defenses. We hit their fire control center, communications systems, and Iran’s listening centers.”

In one sortie, four Israeli Air Force (IAF) F-16s were dispatched to the Syrian T4 air force base near Palmyra to attack the drone’s control center.  According to unconfirmed reports, Iranian Quds forces had been using the base as if it was their own for months.  Below, is a picture of the air base apparently showing an active drone, along with an Iranian drone model.

In response, Syrian forces fired several surface-to-air missiles, downing one of the Israeli jets.  The pilots made it back to Israeli airspace before ejecting, and although both pilots were injured, only one sustained serious injuries.   His condition is listed as serious but stable.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the nation almost immediately, reiterating his warning about the Iranian threat while promising vigilance regarding security measures.

PM Netanyahu has been warning the international community about Iran for years, so UN Secretary General Guterres’s pleas for de-escalation Saturday rings hollow, especially since he was briefed in August of 2017 concerning Iran’s missile factories in Syria.

Russian President Vladamir Putin also urged Israel to avoid further escalation, according to Reuters.

Instead of de-escalation, Hezbollah responded with trademark bluster, According to Arutz Sheva 7.

“The meaning of the downing of the hostile Israeli aircraft in Syria is that from this day it will not be able to ‘warm up’ in the skies of Syria without confrontation. This is the message that Syria and behind it the axis of resistance has sent (to Israel)…  This is the beginning of a new strategic era which puts an end to the violation of Syrian airspace and territory.  Today’s developments mean the old equations have categorically ended.” ~ Hezbollah

Iran doesn’t appear to be inclined toward de-escalation, either, according to Russia Today (RT.com).

Tehran has dismissed Tel Aviv’s claims concerning an Iranian UAV and a downed Israeli jet as “ridiculous.” An Iranian commander also warned Iran could unleash “hell” on the “Zionist regime” and destroy all US bases in the area.  “The claim about the flight of an Iranian drone and Iran’s involvement in the downing of a Zionist fighter jet is so ridiculous that it does not merit a comment,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said. He added that Iranian officials are acting in Syria only as advisers and do so “at the request of the… legitimate and lawful government.”

Backing from Iran is changing both the narrative and boldness of Israel’s opponents. In an article from Middle Eastern Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Hezbollah boasts 70,000 Iranian rockets throughout Syria aimed at Israel, with the expectation of 500,000 within a year.

As the story develops, we’ll post updates.

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One Comment

  1. Whether it be America or Israel, the ones creating the problems are the ones saying they are innocent and under attack by the opposition. When you point a finger (in blame) at someone, the other three are pointing at you.

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