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12 Apr, 2024 15:31

Huge Iranian counter-strike on Israel expected within hours – US

Hundreds of drones and dozens of missiles could rain down on the Jewish state over the weekend, American officials claim
Huge Iranian counter-strike on Israel expected within hours – US

Iran could launch a massive strike on Israeli soil within the next 24 to 48 hours, US officials claimed on Friday. Tehran has been threatening a harsh response since Israel killed two senior Iranian generals in an airstrike earlier this month.

As recently as this week, US intelligence agencies figured that Iran would target Israeli interests in the Middle East, an anonymous US official told the Wall Street Journal. Now, the US believes that the attack will take place between Friday and Sunday, “possibly on Israeli soil,” the official said.

The attack could see more than 100 drones and dozens of missiles fired at the Jewish state, two anonymous US officials told CBS News, adding that the strike could come as soon as Friday evening.

An Israeli source told the Wall Street Journal that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is bracing for a direct attack on either southern or northern Israel. On Thursday, the US Embassy in West Jerusalem warned Americans not to venture out of central Israel or the cities of Jerusalem or Beersheba until further notice.

“We do believe that this is a viable threat,” White House National Security spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Friday. “I can’t speak to what the intelligence picture tells us in terms of the size, scale, scope of what that attack might look like, except to say that we’re taking this seriously.”

Iran accused the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) of carrying out an airstrike on its consulate in the Syrian capital, Damascus at the beginning of this month. The strike killed seven officers of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, including two generals. 

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed to deal Israel a “slap in the face” in response. Reports in the Western press have described Iran’s retaliation as imminent for almost two weeks, although Tehran has given no indication of when or where its forces will strike.

The US believes that Iran’s response will be “larger than usual,” but not substantial enough to provoke a reaction from Washington, American officials told Politico on Tuesday. The Iranians are “looking to calibrate it, so they essentially don’t overplay their hand,” one source said.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Iranian sources said that Khamenei has been presented with a number of military options, including strikes on Israeli power plants and infrastructure with medium-range ballistic missiles. The Ayatollah has yet to choose his preferred response, one source said, adding that Khamenei is “weighing the political risk.”

In an address at a military base on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cautioned that Israel would respond in kind to any Iranian retaliation. “Whoever harms us, we will harm them,” he said. “We are prepared to meet all of the security needs of the State of Israel, both defensively and offensively.”







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