Israel’s military chief of staff made a strong case on Wednesday that Israel was responsible for a strike on a truck convoy in Syria last month, providing a rare window into Israel’s covert conflict with Iran and its regional allies.
According to Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Israeli military and intelligence capabilities allow for targeted attacks against dangerous targets.
He claimed that a recent strike would not have been possible without those skills.
“We might not have been aware of the Syrian convoy’s passage from Iraq to Syria a few weeks ago. We might not have been aware of what was inside or that, out of 25 trucks, that was the truck. The vehicle carrying the weapons is Truck No. 8,” Kochavi said.
He claimed that intense anti-aircraft fire frequently makes such operations more difficult.
“They must strike. They must attack. He continued, “They need to go back, and in some of the attacks, they need to make sure they don’t kill anyone who shouldn’t be murdered.
Israeli officials have already admitted to attacking many targets in Syria and abroad as part of a mission to impede Iranian attempts to transfer weapons to proxies like the militant Hezbollah group in Lebanon or to destroy weapons depots.
It is uncommon to have a reference to a specific strike that is that explicit.
The military has a policy of keeping silent about alleged Israeli strikes outside its boundaries or the Gaza Strip.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor operated by the opposition and based in Britain, the strike Kochavi was referring to in November hit trucks transporting fuel and other vehicles delivering weapons for the militias in Syria’s eastern province of Deir el-Zour.
The strike also claimed the lives of at least 14 persons, most of whom were militiamen.
At the time, supporters of the Syrian opposition claimed that the strike along the Iraqi border had targeted militias supported by Iran.
According to two paramilitary officers in Iraq, Iranian nationals were slain in the incident.
Israel declined to remark on the strike at the time.
Iran’s goal to establish itself militarily along Israel’s border, according to Kochavi, has been “completely interrupted” by Israel’s efforts in the area.
He said they had stopped Iran from deploying tens of thousands of militia members, hundreds of surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, and a Syrian branch of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria.
Iran has been a significant supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad throughout the country’s 11-year civil conflict, sending thousands of men to assist Syrian forces.
Hezbollah, which has fought alongside Assad’s forces in the battle, is linked with Iran and Assad’s government.
Israel has issued warnings against what it sees as Iran’s hostile activity in the region and regards it as its main threat.