Saturday, May 25, 2024

Iranian attack against Israel ‘imminent’: Report

The promised Iranian retaliation for the Israeli strike on Tehran’s consulate in Damascus is likely in the next 24-48 hours, anonymous US officials told Bloomberg on Wednesday.

Two generals of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force were killed in the Israeli air raid on April 1, which for the first time targeted an internationally protected diplomatic mission.

There has been a widespread expectation that Iran would refrain from reprisal until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Speaking on Wednesday, as Muslims celebrated the feast of Eid al-Fitr, Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei stressed that Israel “must and shall be punished” for what it did.

“Major missile or drone strikes” are now imminent, Bloomberg reported citing “people familiar with” the Israeli, US and allied intelligence reports. They will likely be carried out by either Iran directly, or its allies such as the Lebanon-based Hezbollah, the anonymous sources added.

The US is helping Israel with planning and sharing intelligence assessments, the sources stated. Israel is reportedly waiting for the Iranian attack before it launches a ground offensive against the city of Rafah in Gaza.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Wednesday that Tel Aviv would respond in kind if the attack on Israel comes from Iranian territory. Several media outlets reported on Tuesday that Israel has been preparing to target Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The US has publicly promised Israel support against an Iranian attack, including helping shoot down the incoming missiles. Washington has reportedly also floated the idea of taking part in any Israeli counter-strikes.

“We do not rule out launching joint retaliatory strikes with Israel if it is attacked by Iran or its agents,” an unnamed US official told Al Jazeera Arabic.

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