On two different occasions last month, Israeli F-35 fighter jets struck Iranian missile depots north of Baghdad. This marks Israel’s first air strikes in Iraq since Operation Opera in 1981, when it bombed an Iraqi nuclear reactor. This escalation reveals the increased severity of the missile threat that Israel is facing. It also indicates that the United States may have given it the green light to open a new front against Iranian targets in Iraq.
The first attack, on July 19, occurred on a warehouse about 110 miles north of Baghdad. The Israeli Air Force targeted the Shiite militia base just after a shipment of Iranian-made short- and medium-range ballistic missiles was offloaded from a truck, which was supposedly transporting refrigerated food. A senior commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force was killed in the air strike.