Israel is expecting an attack from Iran

The army announced that it is on high alert and is ready for a number of scenarios

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The supreme leader of Iran promised to take revenge on Israel, Photo: Beta/AP
The supreme leader of Iran promised to take revenge on Israel, Photo: Beta/AP
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

Israel was nervously awaiting an attack by Iran or its proxies yesterday amid growing warnings of retaliation for the killing of a senior officer at the Iranian embassy in Damascus last week.

India, France, Poland and Russia have warned their citizens against traveling to the Middle East.

The Israeli army said on Thursday that it had not issued new instructions to civilians, but that its forces were on high alert and ready for a range of scenarios, Reuters reported.

Israel's Foreign Ministry did not comment on reports that some Israeli diplomatic missions were partially evacuated and security increased.

"Vengeance will come," announced Israel's largest daily, Yediot Ahronot. "Right now, the assumption is that it will happen soon, in the next few days."

An allegedly certain attack by Iran on Israel represents a real and achievable threat, the White House announced yesterday, without providing details on the possible timing of the attack and repeating that the US takes its obligations in the defense of Israel seriously.

White House spokesman for national security, John Kirby, added that the US is reviewing the position of its forces in the region in light of the threat from Tehran and is monitoring the situation very carefully.

I still believe that Iran does not want to engage in an all-out, direct military conflict with Israel, and certainly not with the US. But he has to do something

Israel has not claimed responsibility for the April 1 airstrike that killed Brigadier General Muhammad Reza Zahedi, the senior commander of the Quds Force, Iran's Revolutionary Guard's foreign operations unit, and six other officers while they were in a meeting at the embassy compound in Damascus.

However, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused Israel and said it must be punished for the operation, which he said amounted to an attack on Iranian territory.

"It will be very difficult for Iran not to retaliate," Raz Zimt of Israel's Institute for National Security Studies told Reuters.

“I still believe that Iran does not want to engage in a total, direct military conflict with Israel, and certainly not with the US. But he has to do something".

Protest in Tel Aviv demanding the release of hostages from Gaza
Protest in Tel Aviv demanding the release of hostages from Gazaphoto: Reuters

Iranian sources and diplomats from the US, Israel's main protector, say Tehran has sent a signal to Washington that it wants to avoid escalation and will not act hastily.

However, as assessed by Reuters, there is still a risk that any response could get out of control.

"We are ready to defend ourselves on land and in the air, in close cooperation with our partners, and we will know how to respond," said Defense Minister Joav Galant after a meeting with the head of US Central Command, General Michael Kuril.

Given that Iran sees the attack on the embassy as an attack on its own territory, a direct attack by Iran itself, and not by an intermediary, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, on Israel, is a real possibility, Zimt assessed.

"The risk of Israeli retaliation against Iran itself, which would be unprecedented, is certainly something we cannot rule out," he added.

Reuters writes that Iran has missiles that can directly hit Israel, and that last week Israel boasted of its air defenses, which intercepted thousands of rockets fired by Hamas from Gaza and Hezbollah from Lebanon.

The leadership of Hezbollah is waiting for the address of the leader of that group in Beirut
The leadership of Hezbollah is waiting for the address of the leader of that group in Beirutphoto: Reuters

Israel's military has called up reservists in preparation for any escalation on its northern border, where it exchanges fire with Hezbollah on an almost daily basis.

It also withdrew most troops and armored vehicles from Gaza, according to Reuters. The ministers said this was done ahead of a long-promised offensive on the city of Rafah, where thousands of Hamas fighters are said to be in addition to more than a million Palestinians displaced from other parts of the enclave.

In Israel, although no formal safety instructions were given, some parents said their children were told to take their textbooks home for the Passover holiday, in preparation for possible school disruptions.

Hamas: We will crush Israel

Israeli forces were battling Palestinian militants in northern and central Gaza yesterday, and Khaled Meshaal, a senior Hamas official, said the six-month conflict with Israel would "soon crush the enemy".

Palestinians in Al-Nuseirat camp in central Gaza said dozens of people were killed or wounded after Israeli air, land and sea bombardment followed Thursday's surprise ground attack.

The Israeli military said it was conducting a "precision operation based on intelligence" against militants and their infrastructure in central Gaza.

In a statement, Hamas said that the targets of the Israeli bombs in Al-Nuseirat were civilian houses and property "since they did not achieve any military objective on the ground or carry out any of their criminal programs by displacing our people."

Israel denies it is deliberately targeting civilians, accusing Hamas of hiding in residential buildings. Hamas denies this.

Palestinian journalist Sami Shehada was injured in an Israeli attack in Gaza
Palestinian journalist Sami Shehada was injured in an Israeli attack in Gazaphoto: Reuters

Meshaal, who lives in exile and heads the political wing of Hamas in the diaspora, was speaking at an event in Doha, Qatar, on the killing of the family of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in an Israeli attack in Gaza on Wednesday.

“This is not the last round,” Meshal said, referring to the current war. "It is an important round on the way to the liberation of Palestine and the defeat of the Zionist project".

At least 33,634 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the Israeli offensive, the Ministry of Health in Gaza announced yesterday, while most of the 2,3 million inhabitants were displaced and most of the enclave was destroyed.

The war began when Hamas launched a lightning strike across the border into southern Israel on October 7 that killed 1.200 people and took 253 hostage, of whom about 130 are still in Gaza, Israel says.

Ignoring US calls for restraint, Israel is vowing to attack Rafah because it says significant Hamas fighting forces are hiding there after being routed in other areas.

In the latest sign that an Israeli attack on Rafah is imminent, warplanes dropped leaflets on a western settlement asking for information about the hostages.

“To all residents of Tel al-Sultan, look carefully around you, the hostages could be somewhere near you. If you want to protect your families and your future, don't hesitate to give us any information about the hostages and their captors," the leaflets read.

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