Israeli embassies have reportedly stepped up security and preparedness amid growing fears in Jerusalem that Iran was readying to launch a military strike on the Jewish state.
A report by the Kan public broadcaster Monday said that Tehran has been emboldened by its devastating attack on Saudi Arabian oil installations last month, and was plotting an attack against Israeli targets.
Kan said officials were concerned that Iran — now more “aggressive and creative” than before — might choose a target outside of Israel.
The report said several diplomatic missions have been placed on high alert, and have been instructed to take certain security precautions.
Israeli leaders in recent weeks have increasingly warned of a growing security threat from the Islamic Republic.
Last week, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi warned that the “tense and precarious” security situation along Israel’s northern and southern borders was poised to deteriorate into a conflict.
Kohavi told reporters the primary threat facing Israel comes from Iran and its proxies in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, and said the IDF was in an “accelerated process of preparation” for a multi-front war.
On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran was trying to launch precision-guided missiles at Israel from Yemen and elsewhere in the region. Speaking at joint press conference with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Jerusalem, Netanyahu called on Washington to impose additional sanctions to halt what he called Iran’s “plunge for everything” in the region.
“Iran is seeking to develop now precision-guided munitions, missiles that can hit any target in the Middle East with a circumference of five to ten meters,” Netanyahu said according to an English-language statement from his office. “They are developing this in Iran.”
“They want to place them in Iraq and in Syria, and to convert Lebanon’s arsenal of 130,000 [imprecise] rockets to precision-guided munitions,” he added. “They seek also to develop that, and have already begun to put that in Yemen, with the goal of reaching Israel from there too.”
It was not clear what strategic advantage Iran would gain from targeting Israel from Yemen, which is nearly twice as far from the Jewish state as its own soil.
Later on Monday, Channel 12 said the IDF has adjusted its air defenses to better defend against a direct cruise missile or drone strike from Iran.
Israel’s high-level security cabinet is set to convene for a special meeting on Tuesday to discuss Iran tensions for the second time this month. Earlier this month the body — which must approve major military operations — convened for over six hours amid cryptic warnings by Israeli leaders of a growing security threat from Tehran.
Iran appears to have been building up its drone activities and attacks in recent months. In August, Israeli fighter jets carried out airstrikes in Syria to thwart a planned attack on Israel by Iran-backed fighters using armed drones, the Israel Defense Forces said. The Israeli military said its strike targeted operatives from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force as well as Shiite militias who had been planning on sending “kamikaze” attack drones into Israel armed with explosives.
Israel has vowed to prevent Iran’s regional proxy militias from obtaining advanced weapons to use against the Jewish state and has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria that it says were to prevent delivery of weapons and to stop Iranian military entrenchment in that country.