With tensions high between Damascus, Tehran, and Jerusalem, Israel has decided to keep its fleet of F-15 jet fighters on alert on home soil rather than let them take part in a military drill in the US as planned.
The jets were due to participate in Red Flag, an international military drill scheduled to take place in Alaska next month.
But following a pre-dawn aerial attack on the T-4 airbase in Homs last week — attributed by Iran and its backer Russia to Israel and confirmed as such by a senior Israeli military figure to the New York Times on Sunday — in which at least seven Iranians were killed, the Israel Defense Forces are keeping their options open and ground and air forces on high alert on the northern border, in the event Iran decides to launch a revenge attack.
Troops are on the lookout for attempted missile or drone attacks, infiltration of terrorists over the border and attempts by them to lay explosive devices.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry threatened last week that Iran would respond to the attack and that Israel would come to regret it.
For its part, Israel has been relaying messages to Iran, both in public and beneath the radar, not to mess with the Jewish state.
The strike on the T-4 airbase came after Iran launched an explosives-laden drone into Israeli airspace in February.
An IDF spokesman said other airforce craft — among them aerial refuelers — would take place in the international drill.
The exercise features aerial combat scenarios including air-to-air combat, surface-to-air attacks and more.