Israel braces for imminent Iranian retaliation after embassy strike

Israel braces for imminent Iranian retaliation after embassy strike

Reuters reports:

Israel on Friday braced for an attack by Iran or its proxies as warnings grew of retaliation for the killing last week of a senior officer in Iran’s embassy in Damascus.

Countries including India, France, Poland and Russia have warned their citizens against travel to the region, already on edge over the war in Gaza, now in its seventh month. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the threat from Iran was real and viable.

The Israeli military said it had not issued fresh instructions to civilians, but asked people to remain vigilant.

“Over the past day, the military has conducted a situational assessment and approved plans for a range of scenarios following reports and statements on an Iranian attack,” chief military spokesman Daniel Hagari said in a televised statement on Friday.

Israel’s foreign ministry did not comment on reports that some Israeli diplomatic missions had been partially evacuated and security stepped up.

“The revenge will come,” wrote Israel’s largest daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth. “For the moment, the premise is that it will be very soon, in the next few days.”

Israel did not claim responsibility for the airstrike on April 1 that killed Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ overseas Quds Force, and six other officers as they attended a meeting in the Damascus embassy compound.

But Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Israel “must be punished and shall be” for an operation he said was equivalent to an attack on Iranian soil.

“It’s going to be very difficult for Iran not to retaliate,” said Raz Zimmt, senior researcher at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies.

“I still believe that Iran doesn’t want to engage in full-scale, direct military confrontation against Israel, and certainly not with the United States. But it has to do something.” [Continue reading…]

Axios reports:

Three U.S. officials said that in recent days the Iranians told several Arab governments they see the U.S. as responsible for the Israeli attack that killed the Iranian general in Damascus, regardless of U.S. efforts to distance itself from the strike.

  • The U.S. maintains it had no involvement in the strike, a senior U.S. official said.
  • The Iranian message was that if the U.S. gets involved after an Iranian attack on Israel, U.S. bases in the region will be attacked.
  • “The Iranian message was we will attack the forces that attack us, so don’t f–k with us and we won’t f–k with you,” one U.S. official said. [Continue reading…]
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