used their F-35i stealth fighter jets to conduct attacks on Iranian targets in
Iraq in the past month, hitting two Iraqi bases used by Iranian forces and
proxies and storing Iranian ballistic missiles.
The first attack happened on July 19 at a base in Amreli in the Salahuddin province of Iraq. Iraqi and Iranian sources blamed Israel at the time.
Iranian-made ballistic missiles were transported to the base shortly before the attack via trucks used to transport refrigerated food. The identity of the aircraft which conducted the attack was unspecified at the time, and the US denied any involvement. Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah members were killed in the air strike; however, the Iranian-backed militias denied that any Iranians had been killed in the attack.
A source from the IRGC said that preliminary investigations indicate that Israel was behind the attack. An Israeli drone launched from a US base in Syria attacked the base, which stored short- and medium-range missiles.
The IRGC reached this conclusion because the type of missile that hit the camp is the same used by the IAF in attacks on Syria.
A second attack by Israel on Sunday on a base northeast of Baghdad in Ashraf, Iraq, targeted Iranian advisers who were present at the base and a shipment of ballistic missiles that had arrived shortly before from Iran.
Last week, an explosion killed Hezbollah operative Mashour Zidan in southern Syria, and a few days later a rocket struck the strategic Tel Haraa site not far from where Zidan was killed.
Zidan, a Druze resident from the village of Hadar, is believed to have been a senior Hezbollah operative responsible for recruiting volunteers from villages near the border with Israel as part of Hezbollah’s Golan File.
The site has been used by the Syrian army for years to observe Israeli movements, and since the Assad regime re-took the area from rebels last summer, there have been several strikes on the site blamed on Israel.
While the base, which has electronic surveillance capabilities, was supposed to be manned solely by regime troops, pro-Iranian militias including Hezbollah are known to be stationed in it.
Iran has begun moving its assets from areas repeatedly struck by Israel to locations closer to the border with Iraq, specifically the T4 Airbase located between Homs and Palmyra.
In September, Iran transferred ballistic missiles to Shiite proxies in Iraq over the course of several months and is developing the capacity to build more there. The missiles that were said to have been transferred include the Fateh-110, Zolfaqar and Zelzal types, which have ranges of 200-700 km, allowing them to be able to threaten both Saudi Arabia and Israel.