The United States provided intelligence that enabled Israeli air strikes on weapons storehouses in Syria overnight on Tuesday, a senior U.S. official said in a rare admission of public cooperation.
The official said the attack had been discussed by Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on Monday.
The attack targeted a series of warehouses used to store weapons and components that support Iran’s nuclear program.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long maintained that Israel will not allow Iran to go nuclear nor will it stand for Iranian entrenchment on its northern border in Syria and through Iranian proxy terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon.
In recent years Netanyahu had a staunch ally in U.S. President Donald Trump — who has taken a hardline against the Iranian regime applying heavy sanctions in an effort to halt nuclear production. With Trump leaving office and the President-elect Joe Biden set to be inaugurated on Jan. 20, Israelis fear the new U.S. administration will strike a more conciliatory tone with Iran. Biden has often expressed his intention to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Iranian nuclear deal.
In this recent Israeli air strike, 18 targets were attacked — some deep in Syria on the border with Iraq — and dozens of fighters were killed or wounded, according to war monitor group in Syria.
Israel has launched hundreds of strikes against Iranian targets in Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.