Lockheed Martin F35 fighter jet plane, also known as the Adir, in a
test flight. (photo credit: LOCKHEED MARTIN AERONAUTICS/ LIZ LUTZ)
Israeli F-35 fighter jets entered Iranian airspace over the past
month, Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida reported
on Thursday. The act is a signal of heightened regional tensions,
especially in light of recent Israeli military attacks in Syria,
including against Iranian bases in the country.
Sources quoted in Al-Jarida stated
that two stealth fighters flew over Syrian and Iraqi airspace to reach
Iran, and even targeted locations in the Iranian cities Bandar Abbas,
Esfahan and Shiraz.
The report states that the two fighter jets, among the most advanced in
the world, circled at high altitude above Persian Gulf sites suspected
of being associated with the Iranian nuclear program.
It also states that the two jets went undetected by radar, including by
the Russian radar system located in Syria. The source refused to confirm
if the operation was undertaken in coordination with the US army, which
has recently conducted joint exercises with the IDF.
The source added that the seven F-35 fighters in active service in the
IAF have conducted a number of missions in Syria and on the
Lebanese-Syrian border. He underlined that the fighter jets can travel
from Israel to Iran twice without refueling.
Israel has admitted to launching about 100 air strikes on Syria over the
past five years, targeting Hezbollah terrorists, weapons convoys and
infrastructure, and it is believed to be behind dozens more.
April 2016: Israel has carried out dozens of strikes in Syria
On March 21, the IDF cleared for publication that Israel was behind the 2007
destruction of a nuclear reactor
that was under
construction in northern Syria.
In February, Israeli F-16 fighter jets entered Syrian airspace, striking
12 Iranian targets in Syria in response to an Iranian drone that was
shot down over Israel. Two Israeli crew members were wounded when they
ejected from their jet before it crashed, which was later determined to
be caused by pilot error.
In response to the Iranian drone, a senior Israeli official warned that
Israel will react with force to Iran's efforts to entrench itself
further in Syria.
"...the Iranians are determined to continue to establish themselves in
Syria, and the next incident is only a matter of time,” he said, warning
that Israel does not rule out that that the Islamic Republic will
continue to try to attack Israel.
Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.