Israel said readying for Iranian retaliatory attacks that could target civilians
Security chiefs meet to try to predict how and when Tehran will respond to recent alleged Israeli strikes, prepare for possibility it will pursue targets abroad
The security establishment on Monday was reportedly bracing for a retaliatory strike by Iran, following a series of attacks against Islamic Republic targets over the past several days that have been blamed on Israel.
The Kan public broadcaster reported Monday that security officials have held discussions over the past day to try to predict when and how Iran will respond to several strikes on convoys that reportedly were ferrying weapons and ammunition for Tehran-backed militias in Syria over the past 48 hours.
Channel 12 carried a similar report.
Those airstrikes followed a more significant drone attack on a key defense facility in the city of Isfahan. The site hit in Saturday’s strike was reportedly a weapons production facility for Iran’s killer Shahed-136 drones.
The series of attacks were widely attributed to Israel, which has a policy of not commenting on such operations.
In addition to retaliatory attacks against targets inside Israel, the security establishment was readying for the possibility that the Islamic Republic would take aim at Israeli tourists, officials, and embassies abroad, Kan reported without citing sources.
This was the case last year following the assassination of a senior officer in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Israel issued a travel warning urging citizens to avoid traveling to Turkey and authorities there said they foiled an attempt to kidnap an Iranian cell seeking to stage a kidnapping in Istanbul.
Earlier Monday, Iran threatened retaliation over Israel’s reported involvement in the Isfahan attack, warning Jerusalem “not to play with fire.”
An unnamed Iranian official told the Al Jazeera network that it appeared Israel was behind the attack, although he claimed it was a failure.
The Iranian official threatened that Tehran would seek revenge. “Israel knows very well that it will receive a response, as happened in the past.”
“Those who play with fire are the first to get burned if they decide to start a regional war,” the official said.
Iran has in the past believed to have launched drone attacks on US troops and their allies in Syria in retaliation to alleged Israeli strikes targeting Tehran’s interests.
In his previous term, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered numerous strikes on Iranian targets in Syria and operations on Iranian soil. He has been open about his intention to oppose Tehran’s nuclear aspirations at any cost, as Israel generally views an Iranian nuclear bomb as a near-existential threat.
Tzachi Hanegbi, who has since been tapped as National Security Council chairman, said in a November interview that he believed the prime minister would order a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities if the US did not secure a new nuclear deal with Tehran and fails to take action itself in the near future.