NYT: Drone Attack on U.S. Base Was Iran Retaliation Against Israel

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer and crew, being deployed to launch a strike as part of the multinational response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons, is seen in this image released from Al Udeid Air Base, Doha, Qatar in 2018. (U.S. Air Force/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo)

A drone attack on a U.S. military base in southern Syria in October was an Iranian retaliatory action for airstrikes against Iranian targets attributed to Israel, the New York Times reported Friday, quoting U.S. and Israeli officials.

On Oct. 20, five drones were released toward the American base in a strike the Americans called “intentional and coordinated.”

Only two of the drones detonated upon landing. A high-ranking American military official said they had been filled with bullets, signifying a clear “intention to kill.”

The American soldiers stationed at the base had been evacuated a few hours earlier following a tip-off from Israeli intelligence.

The officials quoted by the Times said that the drone attack marked the first time that Iran had carried out military attack against the U.S. in response to strikes attributed to Israel, an escalation in the “shadow war” between Israel and Iran.

Despite the report, the Pentagon declined to publicly blame the attack on Iran, in part to avoid interfering with the Iranian nuclear talks, which are slated to resume at the end of November. Iran has not claimed responsibility for the attack.

Last week, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said at a press conference last week that there had been several “incidents” in which Iran had been the subject of accusations “without any proof.”

Khatibzadeh said that countries that operated military bases in Syria without having been invited to do so by the Syrian government were the “real root” of instability in Syria and the region.