Seth Frantzman @sfrantzman Middle East security analyst, photog., Phd, Exec Director @MidEast_Center ; @Jerusalem_Post @defense_news @TheNatlInterest, @spectator RTs ≠ endorsement Aug. 24, 2019 2 min read

Thread: In years covering Israel's airstrikes in Syria, most of which were "alleged" until Israel began admitting them in August 2017, this is the first time I remember Israel's IDF releasing details so quickly.

The IDF says: "IDF Thwarts Iranian Quds Force and Shiite Militias' Attack Targeting Israel. IDF fighter jets recently targeted a number of terror targets in Aqraba, Syria, southeast of Damascus."

"The strike targeted Iranian Quds Force operatives and Shiite militias which were preparing to advance attack plans targeting sites in Israel from within Syria over the last number of days.
The thwarted attack included plans to launch a number of armed drones." -IDF

"...intended to be used to strike Israeli sites. The IDF is prepared to continue defending the State of Israel against any attempts to harm it and holds Iran and the Syrian regime directly responsible for the thwarted attack." -IDF

Syrian state media claims it shot down all the incoming missiles. The first reports were around 11:27 (23:27) PM local time. IDF claimed the incident around midnight.

Israel's PM Netanyahu spoke to Russian President on August 23 about situation in Syria; and Israel has been alleged to have carried out recent airstrikes in Iraq against Iranian-backed groups .

These "Shiite militias" were mentioned in IDF statement

 https://www.mideastcenter.org/post/tracking-reports-of-mysterious-explosions-and-airstrikes-in-iraq-directed-at-pmu-bases 

Context is also the discussion about Iran's "land bridge"

 https://www.mideastcenter.org/post/tracking-reports-of-mysterious-explosions-and-airstrikes-in-iraq-directed-at-pmu-bases 

Important to remember the last major strikes southeast of Damascus, early June and

 https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5524118,00.html 

And late July
 https://thedefensepost.com/2019/08/01/israel-rocket-syria-bariqa/ 

It's important to note that this strike was against drones and "Shiite militias"; remember an Iranian drone penetrated Israel airspace in February 2018  https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Netanyahu-Israel-will-hit-Iranian-and-Syrian-targets-as-needed-542256 

Iran is improving drone tech:  https://thehill.com/opinion/international/453437-iran-is-becoming-a-drone-superpower 

Iraqi Sh'ite militia leaders have threatened Israel before, as early as December 2017; there was an airstrike on Kata'ib Hezbollah in June 2018 in Syria, but in recent days the issue of the militias has grown
 https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Behind-The-Lines-Who-is-Qais-al-Khazali-and-why-should-you-care-518131 

See also
 https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Are-airstrikes-on-Shiite-militias-in-Iraq-new-front-599189 

The last piece of wider context is the history of Iran's "land bridge";  https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/The-images-and-maps-behind-Irans-land-bridge-599509 

Here is my analysis of the August 24 incident  https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Drones-Shiite-militias-at-heart-of-Iranian-threat-to-Israel-599591 

Adding to this the comparison/background of the January 21 incident “The IDF is currently striking Iranian Quds targets in Syrian territory. The IDF warns the Syrian Armed Forces against attempting to harm Israeli territory or forces” from 1:29am.

A look at three statements from Israel regarding the attack last night in Syria, the first is the IDF press release, then the IDF tweet and then Netanyahu's statement. I highlighted some of the slight differences that I thought interesting

Fars News has a report on the "unprecedented Zionist" acknowledgement of the Syria attack  https://www.farsnews.com/news/13980603000028/%D8%AD%D9%85%D9%84%D9%87-%D9%85%D9%88%D8%B4%DA%A9%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%AC%D9%86%D9%88%D8%A8-%D8%AF%D9%85%D8%B4%D9%82-%D8%A7%D8%B0%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%86-%DA%A9%D9%85%E2%80%8C%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%A8%D9%82%D9%87-%D8%B5%D9%87%DB%8C%D9%88%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%B3%D8%AA%E2%80%8C%D9%87%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%AD%D9%85%D9%84%D9%87 

Israel Radio includes comments from Avi Dichter re: Syria/Iran tensions and also former defmin Lieberman, Lieberman criticizes government’s speed of claiming Syria airstrikes and also mentions Iraq;

I compiled a list of most Israeli IDF official statements over the past year, handy reference and a look back at the context of the August 24 airstrikes, with links and tweets

 https://sethfrantzman.com/2019/08/25/a-year-of-israels-idf-statements-about-iran-in-one-place/ 

The IRGC says nothing happened... https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5575090,00.html 


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