Loading your search results


Peace and Conflict

Israel and allies brace for Iranian attack | Update 12 April 2024

Israel and allies brace for Iranian attack via BICom


What’s happened: Israel and its western allies continue to brace for an anticipated Iranian attack on Israel in response to the assassination of senior IRGC commander Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi in Damascus last week.

  • The IDF and Mossad have approved plans for an attack on Iran in the event that Iran attacks Israel, with the IDF confirming it is “on alert and highly prepared for various scenarios”, as The Wall Street Journal quotes US officials warning that an attack, “possibly on Israeli soil”, could happen as soon as in the next 24-48 hours.
  • “We are ready for attack and defence using a variety of capabilities that the IDF has, and also ready with our strategic partners,” IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said yesterday.
  • Visiting an IAF base yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu said Israel has “set a simple principle: anyone who hits us, we will hit them. we are prepared to meet the State of Israel’s security needs in both defence and offence.”
  • Iran’s IRGC is said to have presented a number of attack options to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, while unverified tweets from IRGC-associated X accounts have posted videos simulating strikes on the Dimona nuclear reactor in the Negev and on Haifa airport.
  • US CENTCOM Commander Gen. Michael Kurilla arrived in Israel yesterday. He will meet today with Israeli counterparts to discuss Israeli-US coordination in preparation for an Iranian attack.
  • Meanwhile, four of Israel’s principle western allies – the US, UK, France, and Germany – have warned Iran against launching an attack on Israeli territory. UK Foreign Secretary Cameron spoke with his Iranian counterpart, as did the German foreign minister.
  • “Today I made clear to Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian,” Cameron wrote on X (formerly Twitter), “that Iran must not draw the Middle East into a wider conflict. I am deeply concerned about the potential for miscalculation leading to further violence. Iran should instead work to de-escalate and prevent further attacks.”
  • US Secretary of State Blinken, meanwhile, has spoken with Chinese, Turkish, Saudi and European counterparts, “to make clear that escalation is not in anyone’s interest and that countries should urge Iran not to escalate.”
  • Israeli Defence Minister Gallant spoke with his US counterpart Lloyd Austin last night – their second conversation in less than a week. Austin reiterated President Biden’s message in public comments made earlier this week – of  “ironclad US support for Israel’s defence in the face of growing threats from Iran and its regional proxies.”
  • Gallant’s office said he “emphasised that Israel will not accept an Iranian attack on Israeli territory… Gallant told Secretary Austin that he is committed to the security of the citizens of Israel, and therefore a direct Iranian attack on Israeli territory will require an appropriate Israeli response against Iran.”
  • Israel’s diplomatic missions overseas remain on the highest state of alert, with some of them closed and their staff instructed to work from home. The US, meanwhile, has instructed staff at its Israeli embassy not to travel beyond the greater Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Beersheba areas.
  • Israel’s Home Front Command, responsible for civilian defence, has made no changes to their instructions and guidelines. Despite this, many Israelis are stocking up on dry goods, bottled water, and even generators in some cases. As schoolchildren break up ahead of the Passover holiday, there have been numerous accounts of pupils being told to take their books home with them in case they need to move to remote learning after the holiday as a result of an Iranian escalation.

Context: The unified approach of Israel’s allies, and their reaffirmed commitment to Israel’s security in the face of the Iranian threat, indicates that recent disagreements over the conduct of Israel’s war in Gaza have not altered the calculus when it comes to Iran.

  • Washington, London, Paris, and Berlin all recognise that the Iranian threat is against western interests and values as well as Israel. As well as the deepening immediate strategic cooperation, Kurill’s visit is intended as a clear warning to Tehran that the US and Israel are in close coordination.
  • The western interest is also in preventing an Iranian response and the subsequent Israeli reaction from spiralling to an all-out regional war.
  • Iran is thought to have delivered a message to the US, conveyed by its Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian during a visit to Oman last weekend, that its response will seek to avoid dramatic escalation of this kind.
  • However, seasoned Israeli commentators are warning that the current crisis is likely to see the end of a nearly four-decade status quo, in which Israeli-Iranian hostilities are played out not in the direct exchange of fire but through Iran’s regional proxies.
  • This would represent a seismic paradigm shift in long-term Israel policy and in strategic thinking post-October 7th. Since hostilities with Hezbollah intensified, the Israeli approach has been to degrade the Iranian proxy’s aerial capability and its elite Radwan Force, generally in the border area, but to keep the conflict contained and short of all-out war. Similarly, Israel has not struck decisively at the Yemeni Houthis, despite the group (another Iranian proxy) having launched repeated attacks directed at Israeli soil and airspace.
  • On the specifics of an anticipated Iranian attack, Tehran has a range of options, though the likeliest scenario would see a multi-front attack using UAVs and cruise missiles, launched either from Iranian soil or via proxies in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.
  • Israeli reports indicate that Austin also complained to Gallant that the US was not given advanced warning of the attack which killed Zahedi. Israel has not official confirmed responsibility for the attack, though the IDF spokesperson did say that the building hit was not an embassy but “a military building of Quds forces disguised as a civilian building.”
  • A report on Israel’s Channel 12, meanwhile, has alleged that Hamas’s Gazan leader Yahya Sinwar is delaying his formal response to the latest US-brokered hostage proposal in the hope of an Iranian attack on Israel.
  • Along with preparation for a direct Iranian threat, the northern border remains a likely site of escalation. New data from the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot has revealed the scale of Hezbollah aggression post-October 7th. It has fired a total of 3,100 rockets and mortar shells at northern Israel since that day. By comparison, a total of 4,400 were fired during the entire Second Lebanon War. Some 240 “heavy bombs” have been fired, along with at least 700 anti-tank missiles, and at least 33 explosive UAVs, 55 sniper attempts, and seven attempts at infiltrating Israeli territory.
  • In responseIsrael has conducted 1,400 air strikes and 3,300 ground attacks, destroying hundreds of weapons stores and military installations. In terms of casualties, says Yediot Ahronot, 14 IDF soldiers and eight Israeli civilians have been killed. 280 Hezbollah fighters have been killed, along with 70 non-Hezbollah Palestinian fighters.

via BICom