Satellite Image Analyzed by AP Shows Damage after Iranian Attack on Israeli Desert Air Base

This satellite photo taken by Planet Labs PBC shows Israel's Nevatim air base on Friday, April 19, 2024. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)
This satellite photo taken by Planet Labs PBC shows Israel's Nevatim air base on Friday, April 19, 2024. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)
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Satellite Image Analyzed by AP Shows Damage after Iranian Attack on Israeli Desert Air Base

This satellite photo taken by Planet Labs PBC shows Israel's Nevatim air base on Friday, April 19, 2024. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)
This satellite photo taken by Planet Labs PBC shows Israel's Nevatim air base on Friday, April 19, 2024. (Planet Labs PBC via AP)

An Iranian attack on an Israeli desert air base last week as part of Tehran's unprecedented assault on the country damaged a taxiway, a satellite image analyzed by The Associated Press on Saturday 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 defenses and fighter jets, backed by the US, the United Kingdom and neighboring Jordan, shot down the vast majority of the incoming fire.

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 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 Friday for the AP, shows fresh blacktop across a taxiway near hangars at the southern part of Nevatim air base, about 65 kilometers (40 miles) south of Jerusalem. The daily newspaper Haaretz, which published lower-resolution images of the site Thursday, identified the hangars nearby as housing C-130 cargo aircraft flown by transport squadrons.

The satellite image corresponds to footage earlier released by the Israeli military, which showed construction equipment working on 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 Tehran’s cratering 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 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 ruler Saddam Hussein launched Scud missiles at Israel in the 1991 Gulf War.



Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
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Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo

Sweden's domestic security agency on Thursday accused Iran of using established criminal networks in Sweden as a proxy to target Israeli or Jewish interests in the Scandinavian country.
The accusations were raised at a news conference by Daniel Stenling, the head of the SAPO agency's counterespionage unit, following a series of events earlier this year.
In late January, the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm was sealed off after what was then described as “a dangerous object” was found on the grounds of the diplomatic mission in an eastern Stockholm neighborhood. Swedish media said the object was a hand grenade.
The embassy was not evacuated and the object was eventually destroyed. No arrests were made and authorities did not say what was found. On May 17, gunshots were heard near the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm and the area was cordoned off. No one was arrested.
According to The Associated Press, Stenling said, without offering specifics or evidence to back up his assertion, that the agency "can establish that criminal networks in Sweden are used as a proxy by Iran.”
“It is very much about planning and attempts to carry out attacks against Israeli and Jewish interests, goals and activities in Sweden," he said and added that the agency sees "connections between criminal individuals in the criminal networks and individuals who are connected to the Iranian security services.”
Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer and Hampus Nygårds, deputy head of the Swedish police's National Operations Department, were also at the online news conference with Stenling.
“We see this connection between the Iranian intelligence services, the security services and precisely criminals in the criminal networks in Sweden," Stenling said. “We see that connection and it also means that we need to work much more internationally to get to the crimes and be able to prevent them.”
Stenling and the others made no mention of the recent incidents connected to the Israel Embassy and stopped short of naming any criminal groups or suspects.
Sweden has grappled with gang violence for years and criminal gangs often recruit teenagers in socially disadvantaged immigrant neighborhoods to carry out hits.
By May 15, police have recorded 85 shootings so far this year, including 12 fatal shootings. Last year, 53 people were killed and 109 were wounded in a total of 363 shootings.