Israel's shadow war with Iran bursts into the open

The Japan Times

JERUSALEM – The long shadow war between Israel and Iran has burst into the open in recent days, with Israel allegedly striking Iran-linked targets as far away as Iraq and crash-landing two drones in Hezbollah-dominated southern Beirut. These incidents, along with an air raid in Syria that Israel says thwarted an imminent Iranian drone attack, have raised tensions at a particularly fraught time. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is looking to project strength three weeks before national elections, while Iran has taken a series of provocative actions in recent months aimed at pressuring European nations to provide relief from crippling U.S. sanctions. Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Iran-backed Hezbollah, vowed to retaliate after a drone crashed on the militant group's Beirut media office and another exploded midair early Sunday. Israeli forces along the border with Lebanon are on high alert, raising fears of a repeat of the 2006 war.


Drone war takes flight, raising stakes in Iran-U.S. tensions as Israel wades in

The Japan Times

NEW YORK – From the vast deserts of Saudi Arabia to the crowded neighborhoods of Beirut, a drone war has taken flight across the wider Middle East, raising the stakes in the ongoing tensions between the U.S. and Iran. In the year since President Donald Trump withdrew America from Iran's nuclear deal, there's been an increasing tempo of attacks and alleged threats from unmanned aircraft flown by Tehran's and Washington's allies in the region. The appeal of the aircraft -- they risk no pilots and can be small enough to evade air-defense systems -- fueled their rapid use amid the maximum pressure campaigns of Iran and the U.S. As these strikes become more frequent, the risk of unwanted escalation becomes greater. The U.S. military nearly launched airstrikes against Iran after a U.S. military surveillance drone was shot down in June. Meanwhile, Israeli fighter jets attack targets in Syria on an almost weekly basis, including on Saturday night.


Twin suicide bombers hit Damascus police station, killing 17

The Japan Times

BEIRUT – Two suicide bombers stormed a police station in the Syrian capital on Monday, killing at least 17 civilians and police, state TV reported, while a drone strike in eastern Syria killed 10 Hezbollah fighters who were helping Syrian troops battle the Islamic State group. The Syrian government is at war with the IS group as well as a local al-Qaida affiliate and an array of rebel groups, none of which immediately claimed the attack. He said the other bomber made it inside the compound, where police killed him, causing his bomb to explode. The blasts damaged the lower floors of the building, and shattered the windows along one side. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitoring group, said the Hezbollah fighters were killed Monday morning when their position came under attack from the sky.


Hezbollah-Run TV Says to Broadcast Footage of Iranian Drone Tracking U.S. Plane Over Syria

U.S. News

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanese Hezbollah's Al Manar TV channel said it would broadcast footage on Wednesday of an Iranian drone tracking a U.S. plane over southeastern Syria. It said it would air the footage during its news broadcast at 5:30 p.m. local time (1430 GMT). The announcement came as tensions grow between Washington and the military alliance that backs the Syrian government, including Iranian-backed forces. Not all U.S. presidents are missed once they leave the White House. President Donald Trump announced Wray's nomination for FBI director on Twitter.


Israel hints it could hit Iran's 'air force' in Syria

The Japan Times

JERUSALEM – Israel released details on Tuesday about what it described as an Iranian "air force" deployed in neighboring Syria, including civilian planes suspected of transferring arms, a signal that these could be attacked should tensions with Tehran escalate. Iran, along with Damascus and its big-power backer Russia, blamed Israel for an April 9 airstrike on a Syrian air base, T-4, that killed seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) members. Iranian officials have promised unspecified reprisals. Israeli media ran satellite images and a map of five Syrian air bases allegedly used to field Iranian drones or cargo aircraft, as well as the names of three senior IRGC officers suspected of commanding related projects, such as missile units. The information came from the Israeli military, according to a wide range of television and radio stations and news websites.