Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu toured the northern border on Sunday, where he hailed the overnight airstrike against Iranian targets in Syria as “a daring decision, and a perfect IDF operational and intelligence effort.”
“In a complicated operation by the security establishment, we revealed that Iran’s Quds Force dispatched a special unit of Shi’ite militants to Syria in order to kill Israelis on the Golan Heights with explosives-laden UAVs,” Netanyahu said.
“I would like to emphasize: This was an initiative of Iran, under the command of Iran, at the behest of Iran.”
The IDF disclosed further details on the strike, with IDF chief Aviv Kohavi saying that despite Iran’s denial, the drone attack plan was personally overseen by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani.
“Each one of these attack drones would carry several kilograms of explosives,” said IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus,.
Conricus said the military has been monitoring the Iranian plot for “a number of weeks,” and acted to thwart it when they saw the Iran-led team preparing to launch the drones. He said the equipment, as well as the IRGC advisers, were flown in from Tehran through the international airport of Damascus several weeks ago.
A satellite image distributed by Israeli private intelligence firm ImageSat International showed that the drone base had been completely destroyed.
Conricus said forces had been put on high alert near the Syrian frontier after the attack.
On Sunday evening, the IDF published footage of an attempt by pro-Iranian terrorists to launch an armed UAV into northern Israel from Syria last Thurday.
In the footage, four men can be seen carrying the drone through fields near the Syrian town of Erneh, across from the Israeli Golan Heights.
The IDF says the footage was filmed by a field intelligence unit along the border on the night of August 22.
Conricus refused to comment on the exact method used Thursday to thwart the attack, but said it was “not necessarily kinetic,” which suggested that some method of electronic warfare was employed.