Iraqi daily Azzaman quoted a Western diplomatic source as saying Thursday that the alleged Israeli attack on Syria reported on Wednesday caused heavy casualties among special Iranian Guards stationed at the Syrian facility. The source also said that the attack took place more than 48 hours before it was reported, eventually being leaked by Israel.
The source for the story, who was interviewed by the paper in London, said that the report about a strike on a convoy to Lebanon was probably meant to divert attention away from the main objective of the operation, which used F-16 aircraft to fire at least eight guided missiles at the facility.
Israel most likely got its intelligence, said the source, from penetrating deep inside Iran and from other operations meant to penetrate Hezbollah. The source also said that the base was heavily fortified and contained experts from Russia and at least three thousand Iranian Revolutionary Guards, who have been guarding the site for years. Many of these Iranian Guards suffered casualties.
The report came as outgoing US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday that there are signs that Iran is sending growing numbers of people and increasingly sophisticated weaponry to support Syrian President Bashar Assad.
"It appears that they may be increasing that involvement and that is a matter of great concern to us," she told reporters as she prepares to step down on Friday. "I think the numbers (of people) have increased ... There is a lot of concern that they are increasing the quality of the weapons, because Assad is using up his weaponry. So it's numbers and it's materiel."