25.4 C
New York

Israel’s war cabinet meets over threat of ‘imminent’ attack by Iran amid fears Middle East crisis could spiral into WW3

Published:

ISRAEL’S war cabinet met to discuss the threat of an “imminent” attack after Iran vowed revenge for a strike that killed several of its top commanders.

Iran has accused Israel of the deadly blitz on its Syrian consulate which has plunged the Middle East further into crisis amid fears of an all-out war spiralling across the region.

Iran's consulate building reduced to rubble in the wake a suspected Israeli bombing

6

Iran’s consulate building reduced to rubble in the wake a suspected Israeli bombing
Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu called a war cabinet meeting to prepare for Iran's revenge

6

Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu called a war cabinet meeting to prepare for Iran’s revengeCredit: Reuters

At least 11 people were killed when the consular building next to Iran’s embassy in Damascus was reduced to rubble by strikes which Iran says were carried out by Israeli F-35 fighter jets.

Monday’s attack killed seven senior members of Iran’s warped terrorist army, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IGC) – sparking a vengeful response from Tehran.

Iranian President Ebrahim Rasi immediately pointed the finger of blame at Israel, labelling the hit a “cowardly crime” and fumed that the deadly strike “will not go unanswered”.

On Wednesday, his threats were bolstered by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who said they would carry out retaliation and “defeat the Zionist regime”.

read more on israel-hamas war

The words of Khamenei have been plastered across posters in Tehran in a public show of support.

However, Iran’s promise of revenge has left the Middle East on a knife-edge.

In an apparent response, Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu held crunch meetings with his security officials over concerns of an “imminent attack” on Israel or Israeli targets abroad, Israeli outlet YNet reports.

Israel – which is still facing down a global backlash in the wake of its deadly strike on an aid convoy that killed three Brits – said it was beefing up its air defences and had called up reservist in preparation for the Iranian response.

The blast at the consulate killed Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who led the elite Quds Force in Lebanon and Syria and was sanctioned by the US and UK.

He died alongside his deputy Gen. Mohammad Hadi Hajriahimi and five other IRGC officers, including a member of Hezbollah.

Iran’s fearsome, trigger-happy proxy in Lebanon also warned: “This crime will certainly not pass without the enemy receiving punishment and revenge.”

Late on Monday, Tehran insisted it had begun plotting a retaliation after its Supreme National Security Council met.

Iran has a record of using its terror proxies to carry out its dirty work on a global scale to avoid a direct confrontation between its enemies of Israel and the US.

So a future attack could be led by Hezbollah or Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi vowed Tehran would respond to Israel's missile strike

6

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi vowed Tehran would respond to Israel’s missile strikeCredit: AFP
One of Iran's top generals Mohammad Reza Zahedi was killed in the blast

6

One of Iran’s top generals Mohammad Reza Zahedi was killed in the blast

The history of Israel and Iran’s relationship

THERE’S been an ongoing conflict between Israel (left) and Iran (right).

In 1947, Iran was among 13 countries that voted against the United Nations Partition Plan for the British Mandate of Palestine.

Two years later, Iran also voted against Israel’s admission to the United Nations.

After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran severed all diplomatic and commercial ties with Israel, and its theocratic government does not recognise the legitimacy of Israel as a state.

The turn from cold peace to open hostility began in the early 1990s, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the defeat of Iraq in the Gulf War, after which relative power in the Middle East shifted to Iran and Israel.

CONFLICT ‘HEATS UP’

The conflict escalated in the early 1990s, as Yitzhak Rabin’s government adopted a more aggressive posture on Iran.

Rhetorical conflict heated up during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who made inflammatory statements against Israel.

Other factors that have contributed to the escalation of bilateral tensions include Iran’s development of nuclear technology relative to Israel’s long-stated Begin Doctrine, Iran’s funding of Islamist groups such as Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas, as well as alleged involvement in terrorist attacks such as the 1992 attack on Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires and the 1994 AMIA bombing, and Israel’s alleged support for militant groups such as the People’s Mujahedin of Iran and Jundallah as well as alleged covert Israeli operations in Iran including multiple assassinations and bombings.

‘COMPLEX AND ONGOING’

Since 1985, Iran and Israel have been engaged in an ongoing proxy conflict that has greatly affected the geopolitics of the Middle East, and has included direct military confrontations between Iranian and Israeli organisations, such as in the 2006 Lebanon War.

The conflict has played out in various ways, including through support for opposing factions in conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

Iran has provided support to the Syrian government, while Israel has supported opposition groups.

In Yemen, Iran has provided support to the Houthi rebels, while Israel has provided support to the Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels.

The conflict has also involved cyber attacks and sabotage against each other’s infrastructure, including attacks on nuclear facilities and oil tankers.

Overall, the Iran-Israel proxy conflict is a complex and ongoing conflict that has had a significant impact on the political and security dynamics of the Middle East.

INSIDE THE WAR

In the Israeli–Lebanese conflict, Iran has supported Lebanese Shia militias, most notably Hezbollah. In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Iran has backed Palestinian groups such as Hamas.

Israel has supported Iranian rebels, such as the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, conducted airstrikes against Iranian allies in Syria and assassinated Iranian nuclear scientists. In 2018 Israeli forces directly attacked Iranian forces in Syria.

Iranian Islamists have long championed the Palestinian people, whom they perceive as “oppressed”.

Scholars believe that by supporting the Palestinians, Iran seeks greater acceptance among Sunnis and Arabs, both of whom dominate the Middle East.

Ideologically, Iran seeks to replace Israel with a one-state solution and has predicted Israel’s demise. Israel sees Iran as an existential threat, and accuses its regime of harbouring genocidal intentions.

Consequently, Israel has sought sanctions and military action against Iran to stop it from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Since the outbreak of the war in Gaza nearly six months ago, Iranian proxies have been unleashing hell on the sidelines.

Hezbollah have stepped up attacks, leading to near-daily cross-border exchanges with Israel, while the Houthis have virtually shut down one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.

However, Israel is said to be fearful that Iran could respond by directly by launching missiles from its own territory, rather than through its proxies.

Such an attack would likely prompt Israel’s military to respond with a significant reprisal – which could spark a global war.

Former IDF Intelligence head Amos Yadlin told Channel 12: “I won’t be surprised if Iran fires directly at Israel.”

‘OCTOBER 7-STYLE REVENGE’

In the wake of the deadly strike, a defence expert warned The Sun that Iran is poised to launch an October 7-style revenge attack on Israel.

Dr Alan Mendoza, director of the Henry Jackson Society think-tank, said that the world must “take the Iranian warning seriously”.

He added: “They’ve laid down their marker so we can only assume they’re going to do it…

“It could be a series of global targets. It could be an attempt to strike Israel again in an October 7-style war – this time with Lebanon.

“There are many options the Iranians could employ and the obvious options would be to use Hezbollah to create more pressure on Israel and to take out some targets.

“Or they could look to other proxies in the Houthis in Yemen who have been firing missiles towards Israel and also groups in Iraq who have been trying to fire missiles.”

Dr Mendoza said Iran might also commit “external global terrorism against Israeli or even Jewish targets”.

The site of the bomb blast on Monday that killed seven IRGC commanders

6

The site of the bomb blast on Monday that killed seven IRGC commandersCredit: AFP
It killed 11 people in total and sparked a vengeful response from Tehran

6

It killed 11 people in total and sparked a vengeful response from TehranCredit: AFP

Related articles

Recent articles

spot_img