Syria and Iran accused Israel of executing the strike, which destroyed 200 missiles and killed at least a dozen Iranians.
Rumors began circulating that Israel masked their attack by flying through Jordan and Iraq and using U.S. “identification friend or foe” (IFF) codes to conceal their aircrafts’ identities.
Another unconfirmed rumor states that this was Israel’s first downrange use of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which could theoretically be able to penetrate Syrian airspace directly due to its stealth features.
Israeli F-35 on displayDept of Defense
For Israel to pull off a a strike using spoofed transponders, they would have to fool ground radars from Iraq and Jordan, as well as U.S. E-3C Sentry aircraft, who would likely have an established order of battle and tasking list to consult if several F-15s appeared from the direction of the Mediterranean.
Also the use of U.S. transponder codes, which are encrypted, would either mean that the Israeli air force has access to or was given U.S. IFF codes. This means it is very unlikely that the Israeli air force could have pulled off such an operation without U.S. support.
To date, Israel has lost one F-16I due to Syrian air defenses, despite conducting numerous strikes inside the country. It is likely that Israel utilized traditional airstrikes against the munitions facility with F-15Is or F-16Is. Iran has vowed to retaliate for the Israeli strikes.
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In this March 12, 2016, file photo, Marines of the U.S., left, and South Korea, wearing blue headbands on their helmets, take positions after landing on a beach during the joint military combined amphibious exercise, called Ssangyong, part of the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises, in Pohang, South Korea. (Associated Press/Yonhap/Kim Jun-bum)
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