Israel was likely behind the bombing of a Syrian air base in Homs,former Israel Air Force commander Major General (res.) Eitan Ben Eliyahu said on Monday. No government has claimed responsibility for the attack which reportedly killed 14 people, including Iranians.
"The only ones who could strike Syria are the Americans or Israelis," Ben Eliyahu said in an interview on Radio 103. "This area has been struck by Israelis in the past and I myself oversaw a strike on this area."
The former Air Force commander explained that the missiles fired in the strike could have been launched in one of two ways: Either from Navy ships or from the air. "If the Americans were to carry out the strike, they would have had no reason to deny it," he posited, arguing that on the contrary, Washington would likely have taken pride in carrying out a strike so quickly, especially in light of all that has transpired in the Middle East
in recent days.
"This is a very quick response by a state to the events that took place in Syria," he said. "The United States would have had a very difficult time reacting to what was going on in Syria so quickly unless it had a ship or plane that was located in the Middle East. My conclusion is that we are dealing with an Israeli strike."
When asked about Israeli interests in Syria, he said, "Israel's goal is to prevent Iranian consolidation in Syria. The base that was struck was the same base from which an [Iranian] drone was launched
two months ago. When a vacuum is created and the whole world realizes that a horrible and terrible act has occurred and refuses to react, Israel may have decided that it was its job to respond."
Ben Eliyahu also raised the possibility that Israel decided to strike the base because of Syrian President Bashar Assad's reported chemical attack
on Saturday. According to reports, the target of the strike was a military air field and it is possible the strike focused on the planes and helicopters used to drop chemical weapons.
"Generally, when strikes occur we don't hear about casualties but this time there were a number of casualties. I have no doubt that there is a connection between the strike and Assad's chemical attack," Ben Eliyahu concluded.