Iranian attack damaged taxiway at Israeli air base, satellite image shows

20 April 2024, 16:14

Mideast Tensions Satellite
Mideast Tensions Satellite. Picture: PA

The Planet Labs PBC image, taken on Friday for the Associated Press, shows a blackened taxiway near hangars at Nevatim air base.

An Iranian attack on an Israeli desert air base during Tehran’s unprecedented assault on the country damaged a taxiway, a satellite image shows.

The overall damage done to Nevatim air base in southern Israel was minor despite Iran launching hundreds of drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.

Israeli air defences and fighter jets, backed by the US, the United Kingdom and neighbouring Jordan, shot down the vast majority of the incoming fire.

Mideast Tensions Satellite
The taxiway has been repaired (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

But the Iranian attack last weekend showed Tehran’s willingness to use its vast arsenal of ballistic missiles directly against Israel as tensions remain high across the wider Middle East over the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.

An apparent Israeli retaliatory attack on Friday on Isfahan, Iran, and Tehran’s low-key response to it suggest both countries want to dial back their long-running shadow war for now — though risks of a wider conflagration in the region remain.

The Planet Labs PBC image, taken on Friday for the Associated Press, shows the repaired taxiway near hangars at the southern part of Nevatim air base, about 40 miles south of Jerusalem.

The daily newspaper Haaretz, which published lower-resolution images of the site on Thursday, identified the hangars nearby as housing C-130 cargo aircraft flown by transport squadrons.

Mideast Tensions Satellite
Workers repair a taxiway at Israel’s Nevatim air base (Israeli military via AP)

The satellite image corresponds to footage earlier released by the Israeli military, which showed construction equipment near the damaged taxiway. A hangar in the background of the video mirrors those seen nearby.

Other images released by the Israeli military showed a crater in the sand and damage under what appeared to be a wall that it said came from the Iranian attack.

The little visible damage seen at the air base in the satellite image directly contradicts Iran’s efforts to portray the attack as a great victory to a public alienated by the Islamic Republic’s struggling economy and its heavy-handed crackdowns on dissent in recent years.

“This operation became a sign of the power of the Islamic Republic and its armed forces,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Friday. “It also showed the steely determination of our nation and our wise leader, the commander of all forces.”

However, it does show Iran’s arsenal has the ability to reach Israel, as the April 13 attack marked the first direct military assault on the country by a foreign nation since Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein launched Scud missiles at Israel in the 1991 Gulf War.

By Press Association

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