In the early hours of Saturday, for the first time, Iran infiltrated Israel with a drone.
The drone, an advanced model with stealth capabilities, penetrated into Israel through the border from Jordan. It was intercepted after about a minute and a half in Israeli territory by an Apache attack helicopter.
In the immediate aftermath, the IAF conducted a targeted strike and destroyed the mobile command vehicle that guided the drone. On their way home, an F16 fighter jet was attacked by a massive barrage of Syrian air defense.
The plane was hit and crashed inside Israel. The pilots ejected, one was injured severely the other lightly wounded. They are both in the Rambam Hospital.
בתמונה: כסא המפלט שנמצא ליד צומת המוביל @ndvoripic.twitter.com/SRjxdEVSet— החדשות (@NewsChannelIL) February 10, 2018
Following the event, the Air Force conducted a widespread strike against 12 targets, including three aerial defense batteries, and 4 Iranian positions.
The Iranians are famous for being long-term strategists, so the drone was clearly a planned provocation. Iran wants to dictate new red lines from Syria’s perspective, by dictating a message that Israel no longer has a free pass to operate unhindered in Syria.
#Iranian mobile drone command center as seen from the tip of the missile this morning. This is a combination of real-time intelligence coupled with high grade operational capability. pic.twitter.com/L3xuusohMs— LTC (R) Peter Lerner (@LTCPeterLerner) February 10, 2018
What we can learn from this event is that the IDF has exceptional intelligence on the Iranian operation and its entrenchment in Syria. The Air Force has outstanding striking capabilities in quality and quantity of Iranian and Assad’s targets.
The question that needs to be asked is, did Iran accurately anticipate such a widespread counter strike of 12 targets, including four Iranian assets?
Despite the Iranian attempt to redefine red lines with regards to Israel’s operational access to confront strategic weapons, we can expect Israel to continue it’s ongoing effort to curtail the arming of Hezbollah’s and Iranian entrenchment in Syria.
From a media perspective, the world media oversimplified the headlines, misconstrued the sequence of events, and mostly made Israel out to be the aggressor.
International world media get the headlines wrong. Cause: Iranian drone infiltrated into Israel, Effect: Israel retaliates downs the drone targets Syrian and Iranian assets, one IAF aircraft crashed, pilot severely wounded. pic.twitter.com/52cvLQbmC5— LTC (R) Peter Lerner (@LTCPeterLerner) February 10, 2018
The question remains, will this be the first move of the game of chess in what will later be known as the first Israel-Iran War?
Lieutenant Colonel (R) Peter Lerner is a Communications and Strategy Consultant, Israel Advocate, and a former IDF Spokesperson.