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Top Israeli general claims attack on convoy at Iraq-Syria border



FILE PHOTO: Israeli Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi speaks at the Israeli Air Force pilots’ graduation ceremony at Hatzerim air base in southern Israel June 27, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The chief of Israel’s armed forces on Wednesday claimed credit for a recent air strike on a convoy that had entered Syria from Iraq, saying the target was a truck carrying weaponry.

Though he did not give a date for the event, describing it only has having taken place “several weeks ago”, Lieutenant-General Aviv Kohavi appeared to be alluding to a Nov. 8 attack that Iraqi officials at the time said destroyed two fuel trucks.

Were it not for Israeli intelligence, Kohavi told a conference hosted by Reichman University, “we might not have known that among the 25 trucks (in the convoy), that was the truck – truck number eight – that was the truck with the arms”.

“There too, the pilots had to be sent. They had to know how to evade the ground-to-air missiles,” he added, hinting that piloted jets were used for the distant mission. Iraqi officials had described the Nov. 8 strike as the work of a drone.

For almost a decade, Israel has been carrying out air strikes against suspected Iranian-sponsored weapons transfers and personnel deployments in next-door Syria. Israeli officials have rarely acknowledged responsibility for specific operations.

A regional official aligned with Iran said two Syrian nationals were killed in the Nov. 8 air strike. Officials at the Iraq-Syria border were unaware of any Iranian casualties.