Israel struck Iranian arms convoy along Syrian-Iraqi border: Israeli commander to JP
Shafaq News/ Israel struck a convoy of trucks carrying Iranian weapons along the Syrian-Iraqi border last month, Israeli army Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi told the Jerusalem Post (JP) on Wednesday.
Without specifying the exact timing, it appeared clear that he was referring to an attack within Syria, next to the Iraqi border, which the Wall Street Journal and various other media outlets attributed to Israel in early November, but which Israel did not take responsibility for at the time.
According to reports at the time, the caravan was moving Iranian weapons, likely including powerful missiles, from Iraq to Syria and around a dozen Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps members and other Iranian-associated forces were killed.
Speaking at a conference at Reichman University, Kohavi said that the Israeli army had "perfect intelligence" to hit "Truck Number 8" out of a 25 truck caravan, because it knew that this truck was the one containing Iranian weapons.
Describing the operation, Kohavi said the Israeli army needed to send the air force to the correct location and that the aircraft “needed to evade surface to air missiles. Don’t make any mistake – there are operations where they fire between 30-40 surface to air missiles,” sometimes even reaching 70 missiles.
Israel’s air force needed to “attack, to actually hit [their targets] and to return [without being shot down by the surface to air missiles.] During some of the attacks, they also need to avoid killing people who should not be killed. These are very advanced capabilities,” he said.
Meanwhile, Iraqi authorities at the time had claimed that the caravan was entirely comprised of civilian-commercial items, including gas.
Some reports have speculated that the smuggling move was a new tactic by Iran to try to avoid detection and avoid angering the Syrian regime which has lost patience with the cost it pays from Israeli strikes on Iranian forces within its territory.
Kohavi gave this example to show how crucial a revolution he took forward in connecting intelligence to operations during his approximately four years as the army chief was to Israel's security.
He said that the Israel's "war between wars" has not been hermetic and that sometimes Tehran has succeeded in smuggling weapons to Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon, but that overall Iran's dream of a "new Hezbollah" from on the Syrian Golan Heights has been thwarted.