Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah speaks in a pre-recorded message shown on a screen during an event ahead of al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day on Friday April 5, in Beirut, Lebanon April 3, 2024.

Hezbollah Chief Says Iran’s Retaliation For Consulate Attack ‘Inevitable’

Friday, 04/05/2024

The leader of Iran-backed Hezbollah of Lebanon voiced support for Iran's right to "punish" Israel over its Monday strike on Iran's consulate in the Syrian capital, saying the response was coming.

Hassan Nasrallah called the Damascus strike on Monday a "turning point" since October 7, when Palestinian group Hamas -- another Iran-backed militia -- launched an attack on Israel, killed 1,200 mostly civilians and took 240 hostages, igniting the Middle East current conflict.

The strike killed seven members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, among them a senior commander of the Quds Force, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi. Iran has vowed a “harsh revenge.”

"Be certain, be sure, that the Iranian response to the targeting of the consulate in Damascus is definitely coming against Israel," he said.

Israel has braced itself for the possibility of a retaliatory attack, cancelling leave for all combat units and mobilizing more troops for air defense units.

Speaking to Israeli forces at an air base on Friday, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel was attacking enemies wherever it decided to do so. "It could be in Damascus and it could be in Beirut," he said. "The enemy is badly hit in all places and is therefore looking for ways to respond. We are ready with a multi-layered defense."

Up until now, Tehran has cautiously steered clear of direct confrontation with Israel while supporting attacks on Israeli and US targets by its proxy forces across the region in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq.

Veteran Israeli experts suggest that Iran is unlikely to retaliate directly against Israel for the attack. Diplomats and analysts suggest that Iran's clerical elite, wary of jeopardizing its hold on power, avoids seeking an all-out conflict with Israel or the US. Instead, Tehran would prefer to keep using its proxies to carry out selective tactical attacks on its archfoes.

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