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  • Operation Mole Cricket 19 was a suppression of enemy air defenses campaign launched by the Israeli Air Force against Syrian targets on June 9, 1982, at the outset of the 1982 Lebanon War. The operation was the first time in history that a Western air force successfully destroyed a Soviet-built surface-to-air missile network. It also became one of the biggest air battles since World War II, and the biggest since the Korean War. The result was a decisive Israeli victory, leading to the colloquial name the Bekaa Valley Turkey Shoot. The IAF began working on a SAM suppression operation since the end of the Yom Kippur War. Rising tensions between Israel and Syria over Lebanon escalated in the early 1980s and culminated in Syria deploying the SAM batteries in the Beqaa Valley. On June 6, 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon, and on the third day of the war, with clashes going on between the Israel Defense Forces and the Syrian Army, Israel decided to launch the operation. The battle lasted about two hours, and involved innovative tactics and technology.