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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Israel ready for ‘any scenario’ with Iran – defense minister

The country has been on high alert owing to Tehran’s threats of retaliation for a suspected IDF airstrike on an Iranian consulate in Syria

Israel is ready for any scenario that may develop with regard to its strained relations with Iran, according to Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. The ministry made the statement after Gallant held an “operational situation assessment” meeting with senior military and intelligence officials on Sunday.

Israel has placed its military on high alert this week, suspended leave for combat units and heightened air defenses in anticipation of a possible attack from Iran after senior Iranian military commanders were killed in an airstrike in Syria. Tehran blamed the strike on the IDF and vowed retaliation.

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“The defense system has finished preparations for a response against any scenario that may develop with Iran,” Gallant said following the meeting, as cited by the Jerusalem Post. He did not disclose any further details about the preparations.

The deadly strike on the Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital of Damascus earlier this week killed seven officials of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, including top Iranian general Mohammad Reza Zahedi. Israel has not openly acknowledged it was behind the attack, but Gallant implied responsibility in a statement on Wednesday that Israel “strikes our enemies all over the Middle East.”

Iran’s leaders described the targeting of the diplomatic mission as unprecedented and promised a harsh response. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Israel would “receive a slap in the face.”

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Meanwhile, US officials expressed concern this week that the situation could turn into a full-blown war between Iran and Israel if Tehran goes through with its threats. White House National Security spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday a potential attack by Tehran was discussed during a phone call between President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Several news outlets, citing US officials, reported later in the week that Tehran could attack Israel as soon as next week.

Israel has repeatedly accused Iran of backing Hamas, Hezbollah, and other pro-Palestine militant groups in the region. It also accused Tehran of masterminding the deadly October 7 raid on Israeli citizens, which claimed the lives of an estimated 1,200 Israelis and ignited the current conflict in Gaza. Tehran denied involvement in the October attack but pledged to continue to support Hamas and other Palestinian groups.