Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu Readies Forces As Iran Threats Continue After Consulate Attack

Thursday, 04/11/2024

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu readied the country's air forces on Thursday as Iran continues to levy threats againsts the Jewish state in the wake of its airstrike on Iran's consulate in Syria last week. 

Addressing F-15 pilots in the Tel Nof air base, Netanyahu stressed that Israel has readied itself for all scenarios in the region in the wake of the most humiliating attack on Iran in recent years as the shadow war between the two states continues. 

“We are in challenging times. We are in the midst of a war in Gaza that is continuing with full force. In addition, we are continuing with ceaseless efforts to return our hostages, but we are also preparing for challenges from other fronts," he said Thursday.

“We set a simple principle: Anyone who hits us, we hit them. We are ready to fulfill our responsibilities towards Israel’s security, in defense and attack."

His remarks came a day after Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, said that Israel "must be punished and it shall be" for the April 1 attack in Damascus, the most brazen attack on top IRGC personnel since the assassination of Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani by the US in 2020.

The precision missile strike claimed the lives of 7 IRGC forces, including Mohammad Reza Zahedi, the highest-ranking commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force (IRGC-QF) in Lebanon and Syria.

Iranians burn an Israeli flag during a rally marking Quds Day and the funeral of members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps who were killed in a suspected Israeli airstrike on the Iranian embassy complex in the Syrian capital Damascus, in Tehran, Iran, April 5, 2024.

Michael Erik Kurilla, the head of US Central Command (CENTCOM), arrived in Israel where he is scheduled to meet the country’s senior military officials, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant as the two nations, both archenemies of Iran, discuss contingency plans.

On Wednesday, the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iraq and UAE, key economic allies of Iran amid sanctions, contacted their Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in an intervention to persuade Tehran to avoid further tensions with Israel as an Iran-led proxy war spills into the region in the wake of the October 7 Hamas invasion of Israel. 

The Iran-backed militia has since been joined by Iran's proxies in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and Syria in attacks on both Israel and US forces in the region. The mediation of the four Arab countries was conducted at the request of Brett McGurk, the White House Middle East envoy.

Multiple international diplomats have tried to stem the tide of violence since the attack. In a phone conversation with Amir-Abdollahian, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong urged Tehran “to use its influence in the region to promote stability, not contribute to escalation.”

“Australia is deeply concerned by indications Iran is preparing military action against Israel,” wrote Wong on X, adding that “further conflict will only add to the devastation in the Middle East.”

Earlier in the day, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also talked to her Amir-Abdollahian and called on “all actors in the region to act responsibly and exercise maximum restraint.”

Iran, named as the biggest state sponsor of terror in last year's annual US terrorism report, lambasted the UN Security Council for failing to take action against Israel’s attacks on the IRGC targets in Syria.

“Had the UN Security Council condemned the Zionist regime’s reprehensible act of aggression on our diplomatic premises in Damascus and subsequently brought to justice its perpetrators, the imperative for Iran to punish this rogue regime might have been obviated,” Iran’s Permanent Mission to the UN stated.

According to the Financial Times, suspected Israeli strikes have claimed the lives of 18 IRGC commanders and advisers since the Gaza war broke out on October 7 as the shadow war between the two sides continues to boil over. 

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