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Report: Overflight was 'rehearsal' for attack on Iran
Israeli violation of Syrian airspace through its ally, Turkey, involved as many as eight aircraft, including Israel's most ultra-modern F-15s and F-16s equipped with Maverick missiles and 500lb bombs, The Observer reports
The Israeli overflight of Syrian airspace through its ally, Turkey, involved as many as eight aircraft, including Israel's most ultra-modern F-15s and F-16s equipped with Maverick missiles and 500lb bombs, the British newspaper The Observer reported Sunday.

 

According to the report, which quotes Turkish security sources, flying among the Israeli fighters at great height was an ELINT - an electronic intelligence gathering aircraft.

 

The Observer raised the speculation that the raid was an 'operation rehearsal' for a raid on Iran's nuclear facilities.

 

Turkey has a close security-strategic alliance with Israel. According to one media report during the holiday of Rosh Hashana, Turkey's military and intelligence units were in on the secret and even assisted the IDF, although the government was not informed about the operation in advance and later condemned it.

 

Over the weekend, the foreign press attempted to offer explanations for the Israeli overflight, which has yet to be officially confirmed by an Israeli official.

 

According to the Washington Post, quoting a senior US expert on the Middle East, the Israel Air Force raid over Syria allegedly occurred three days after the country received a shipment of material from North Korea labeled as cement.

 

The expert said the attack seemingly targeted a northern Syrian facility that was labeled an agricultural research center, close to the Turkish border.

 

It was not clear what the ship arriving from North Korea was actually carrying, although Israeli sources largely believed it was delivering nuclear equipment, the expert told the Washington Post.

 

The ship arrived at the Syrian port of Tartus on September 3; the attack supposedly occurred on September 6.

 

The expert told the Washington Post that the attack was under such strict operational security that the pilots conducting the attack were briefed only after they were in the air.

 

Meanwhile, sources in NATO headquarters in Brussels told the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat that the goal of the Israeli overflight was "a warning and an experiment" and that it was not aimed at causing damage or bringing about a war.

 

According to the source, Israel was surprised by the Syrian initiative to publicize the attack, as in two previous overflights over Syrian territory Israel was the one that initiated the publication.

 

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