Iran backs down from direct attack as Israel threatens to bomb nuke sites

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Following last week’s strike in Damascus and threats of retaliation from Iranian officials, Israel has signaled that it will attack targets in Iran if it were to launch a direct attack, according to an Arab report Monday.
Though Israel has not commented on the matter, both Damascus and Tehran blame Israel for the attack last Monday.
The New York Times cited four unnamed Israeli officials as confirming that the country was behind the strike.
At a security cabinet meeting on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly alluded to the strike while vowing to respond to a prospective Iranian attack.
And, therefore, Israel acts against Iran and its proxies — defensively and offensively,” he said.
“Be certain, be sure, that the Iranian response to the targeting of the consulate in Damascus is definitely coming against Israel,” he said.
Israeli officials believe the country’s air defense systems will be able to handle the threat.
Iran has reportedly also put its military forces on “full high alert” ahead of any expected strike.

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Israel has indicated that, should Iran launch a direct attack, it would target Iranian targets in retaliation for last week’s Damascus strike and threats of retaliation from Iranian officials, according to an Arab report published on Monday.

The London-based Elaph News, citing an unidentified “Western security official,” claimed that Israel has been practicing air force drills lately, practicing strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities and other vital infrastructure.

But, anonymous US intelligence sources told CNN that Iran is more likely to encourage its various proxies in the region to carry out attacks on its behalf in the coming days rather than directly attack Israel due to fear of American and Israeli retaliation.

Rejecting earlier assessments by Washington and Jerusalem that an attack by Iran was “inevitable,” the CNN report was published late on Monday night. “.

Amid threats of retaliation from Iranian officials for the death of their top commander in Syria, Mohammad Reza Zahedi, as well as six other members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and at least one member of Iranian proxy group Hezbollah, Israel has been on high alert for the past week.

Both Tehran and Damascus blame Israel for last Monday’s attack, despite Israel’s silence on the subject. Four unidentified Israeli officials were quoted by the New York Times as confirming that Israel was the cause of the attack.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised to retaliate against any potential Iranian attack, but he made clear allusions to the strike during a security cabinet meeting on Thursday.

“Iran has been using proxies and direct action against us for years. Israel thus employs both offensive and defensive measures to target Iran and its allies, the speaker added.

Zahedi was presumably the most senior commander of Iranian forces in Syria and Lebanon, overseeing the activities of the IRGC Quds Force, Iranian militias operating there, and relations with Hezbollah. Since the 2020 US strike on Baghdad airport that killed General Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force, the 63-year-old was the most significant Iranian soldier to die. A terrorist organization designated by the US is the IRGC.

According to analysts, Israel’s campaign against Iran and its regional proxies has escalated with this raid, which could potentially lead to a wider war that extends beyond the Israel-Hamas conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Hezbollah and Iran have pledged retaliation for the attack. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s adviser issued a threat against Israeli embassies on Sunday, telling Iran’s ISNA news agency that “the embassies of the Zionist regime are no longer safe.”. “.

Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, predicted an Iranian reaction in televised remarks last Friday.

“You can be sure that Iran will retaliate against Israel for the targeting of the Damascus consulate,” he declared.

Following an evaluation on Sunday at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv by high-ranking army officials, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant declared that Israel had “completed preparations for a response against any scenario that would develop against Iran” and was prepared to counter any attack by the Islamic Republic. “.

Israel is preparing for possible ballistic missile attacks from Iran, which it has not yet experienced, as well as missile and drone attacks by Iran-backed groups in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, all of which have occurred during the ongoing Gaza conflict. Israeli officials think the threat can be neutralized by the nation’s air defense systems.

Iran is also said to have placed its armed forces on “full high alert” in anticipation of any impending attack.

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