Photo Credit: Israeli Air Force
IAF fighter plane.

An airstrike carried by the Israeli Air Force (IAF) on Saturday night in Al-Bukamal killed 15 Iranian-backed militiamen, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported Sunday.

The SOHR reported that aircraft, “believed to be Israeli” hit the Iranian targets, situated on Syria’s border with Iraq.

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Afghan and Iraqi pro-Iranian militiamen were killed in the bombing, which targeted newly-built positions. Two positions and vehicles were also destroyed in the attack.

Israel has not commented on the reports.

The Al-Bukamal border crossing with Iraq was built to serve as a land bridge between Iran and Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea, posing a new threat to Israel’s security.

Iran routinely attempts to arm the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror organization with advanced weapons. Israel has exposed and thwarted multiple attempts by Iran to transfer game-changing weapons to Hezbollah, and this new crossing could pose a new challenge to the Israeli efforts.

The new border crossing between Syria and Iraq is strategically important to Iran because the route enables Iran to send forces, supplies, and weapons through Iraq to Syria and from there to Lebanon.

The Iranians are upgrading the Al-Bukamal Crossing. In view of Iran’s strategic interest, Hezbollah and the Shi’ite militias sponsored by Iran played an important role in taking control of Al-Bukamal from the Islamic State in November 2017. The crossing was put to use immediately after it was taken over.

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.
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