Iran threatens Israeli embassies as Gallant says country prepared for ‘any scenario’

Iranian state media publishes graphic of missiles it claims can hit Israel, as it promises to avenge 7 IRGC personnel killed in Syria airstrike it blames on Jewish state

Pic: Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (left) meets with the chief of the IDF's Operations Directorate, Maj. Gen. Oded Basiuk (center), and the chief of the Military Intelligence Directorate, Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, at his office in Tel Aviv, April 7, 2024. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

An adviser to Iran’s supreme leader on Sunday appeared to threaten an attack on Israeli embassies, days after a strike on an Iranian consular building in Damascus that Tehran blamed on Israel killed seven members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

“The embassies of the Zionist regime are no longer safe,” Yahya Rahim Safavi, senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency, adding that Tehran viewed confrontation with Israel as a “legitimate and legal right.”

The news agency also published a graphic that it claims showcases nine types of Iranian missiles it says are capable of hitting Israel.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Sunday that Israel is ready to respond to any attack by the Islamic Republic, stating that Israel has “completed preparations for a response against any scenario that would develop against Iran.”

The remark was made following an assessment Gallant held with the chief of the IDF’s Operations Directorate, Maj. Gen. Oded Basiuk, and the chief of the Military Intelligence Directorate, Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, at the Defense Ministry in the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv.

Iran has threatened a response to the alleged assassination by Israel of its top Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander in Syria, along with six other IRGC officers in an airstrike last week on the Syrian capital.

The attack leveled a building adjacent to the Iranian embassy in Damascus, killing seven IRGC members including two generals, and at least one member of the Hezbollah terror group. Iran claims the bombed building was a consular annex. The IRGC is a US-designated terror group.

Both Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah have vowed revenge. One of those killed in the Damascus attack was Mohammad Reza Zahedi, reportedly responsible for the IRGC’s operations in Syria and Lebanon, for Iranian militias there, and for ties with Hezbollah, and was thus the most senior commander of Iranian forces in the two countries.

Possible scenarios for which the IDF is understood to be preparing include missile and drone attacks by Iran-backed groups in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen — all of which have been carried out amid the ongoing Gaza war — and ballistic missile attacks directly from Iran, a situation that Israel has not yet faced. Israeli officials believe the country’s air defense systems will be able to handle the threat.

On Thursday, the Israel Defense Forces canceled all leave for active combat soldiers, though the IDF Home Front Command has issued no special instructions to the public.

A day earlier, the IDF said it was bolstering air defenses and calling up reservists, following an assessment.

Iran has reportedly also put its military forces on “full high alert” ahead of any expected strike.

Two Iranian officials quoted on Friday by The New York Times said Iran has made a decision to directly attack Israel, in a move aimed at creating deterrence.

A handout picture provided by the office of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on April 4, 2024, shows relatives mourning over the coffins of seven Revolutionary Guard Corps members killed in a strike on the country’s consular annex in Damascus, which Tehran blamed on Israel, ahead of their funeral procession. (Photo by KHAMENEI.IR / AFP)

Meanwhile, a US official said the United States was on high alert and preparing for a possible attack by Iran targeting Israeli or American assets in the region.

“We’re definitely at a high state of vigilance,” the official said in confirming a CNN report that said an attack could come in the next week.

A senior administration official who spoke with CNN said the US is bracing for a “significant” attack and that both Washington and Jerusalem believe an Iranian response was “inevitable.”

CBS News reported that the US gathered intelligence indicating Iran is planning an attack that would involve explosive Shahed drones and cruise missiles. US officials who spoke to CBS said they did not know the timing and target of Iran’s anticipated response, but the report said it was expected to come before Ramadan ends next week.

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