Den iranske generalen Hassan Shateri, som ble meldt drept av stridende i Syria sist uke, ble i virkeligheten drept av israelske fly under et angrep i januar. Det fremkommer i en rapport som Sunday Times offentliggjør.
Israel hadde bombet en kolonne med raketter på vei til Hizbollah i Libanon, mens Shateris død ble oppgitt som en separat hendelse. Nå viser det seg at Shateri var med i kolonnen og var det primære målet.
For Israel, he was long a “prime target,” according to an Israeli security figure quoted by The Times.
The report described how, despite the tight security surrounding Shateri, Israeli agents spotted him in Damascus and trailed him as he boarded the convoy headed for Lebanon, after which the air-strike option was utilized.
According to Israeli and Western defense officials quoted by the foreign press at the time, the convoy was leading Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles that, in Hezbollah’s hands, would be considered game-changing in that they would disrupt Israel’s ability to carry out reconnaissance flights over Lebanon.
But according to Sunday’s report, even the specter of advanced surface-to-air weaponry in the hands of Israel’s sworn enemy would not be sufficient, without further cause, to merit a risk-ridden strike deep in Syrian territory.
A senior Israeli source was quoted as saying that Shateri was the real target of the strike and that “a weapons convoy to Lebanon is not on its own a good enough reason for Israel to risk its pilots in an attack through a heavily protected air defense zone.”
Allerede da nyheten om Shateris død ble kjent, kunngjorde Iran at «leiesoldater» utførte oppdraget på vegne av sionister. Hentydningen var dermed mer reell enn mytologiserende.
Iran har lovet å hevne Shateris død.