Since last month’s strike on the Syrian T4 air base holding Iranian weapons planned to be used by Hezbollah against Israel, hostilities continue to escalate with Iranian threats being taken seriously.
Israel’s defense is reportedly bracing itself for a possible imminent missile attack from its northern border in retaliation for the Israel strike last month on the Syrian T4 air base, which hit Iranian facilities and killed seven Revolutionary Guards personnel.
Preparations have been identified recently for a launch of Iranian missiles on Israel’s northern border, organized by the Revolutionary Guards, local media reported Sunday evening.
However, the Israeli assessment is that Iran is looking to carry out a directed attack in order to ‘settle the score’, rather than plunge the region into full-blown war.
Hezbollah commanders are said to be involved in the preparations, along with activists in the Shi’ite militias that Iran funds in Syria, though Hezbollah seems interested in maintaining a low profile in order to hide its internal position in Lebanon.
Hours earlier, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that a confrontation with Iran would be “better now than later”, adding that while Israel does not seek escalation it will stand firm in the face of Iranian aggression.
“Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps has been in recent months providing Syria with advanced weapons to attack us, both on the battlefield and on the home front, including attack drones, surface-to-surface missiles, and Iranian anti-aircraft systems that will threaten air force planes,” the prime minister said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.
A Syrian military airport was hit last month with a deadly missile strike blamed on Israel, which was said to include Iranian forces.
Deemed to be in retaliation, Israel launched a pre-drawn attack on an Iranian-operated T4 (Tayfur) airbase that killed 14 people, including 7 Iranian personnel. Only a few weeks later, another set of strikes attributed to Israel, targeted a military base close to Hama and reportedly left two dozen Iranians dead.
SANA first said the missile strike on the Tayfur base was a “suspected US attack,” but later withdrew all reference to America as Washington and France both denied involvement.
Hostilities between the two Middle East foes have been escalating for some time as Israel continues to warn about Iran’s broadening influence in the region and threat to its north.
Back in February, Israel responded to an Iranian drone — which it later said was bristling with arms — that entered Israeli airspace, by conducting a barrage of air strikes on targets, including some belonging to Iran.
Per longstanding policy, Israel does not comment on reported airstrikes in Syria or claim public responsibility but is said by foreign officials and war monitoring groups to have carried out dozens in recent years. However, Israeli officials have repeatedly said they will not allow Iran’s military consolidation in Syria or allow weapons to be transferred to the Lebanese-based Iranian proxy, Hezbollah.
At the same time, concerns over the Iranian nuclear deal have dominated the global geopolitical landscape, as the looming May 12 deadline approaches for US President Donald Trump to make a decision on whether to maintain the Iranian deal.
On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron warned in an interview with German newspaper, Der Spiegel, that war could erupt if Trump withdraws from the deal.
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