Iranian Attack Expected on Israel in Next Two Days

Israel is preparing for a direct attack from Iran on southern or northern Israel as soon as the next 24 to 48 hours, according to a person familiar with the matter. A person briefed by the Iranian leadership, however, said that while plans to attack are being discussed, no final decision has been made.

Iran has publicly threatened to retaliate for an attack last week in Damascus, Syria, that Tehran said was an Israeli airstrike on a diplomatic building. The strike killed top Iranian military officials, including a senior member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force.

Earlier this week, U.S. intelligence reports showed that an attack on Israeli assets by Iran or its proxies could be imminent, but a source says it now appears that the attack could be within Israel’s borders.

A U.S. official with knowledge of the matter said Thursday that American intelligence reports indicate an Iranian retaliatory strike within days, “possibly on Israeli soil” as opposed to Israeli interests elsewhere.

On Thursday, the American embassy in Israel said U.S. government employees and family members would be restricted from any personal travel outside of central Israel, Jerusalem and Beersheba until further notice.

Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, commander of U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for military operations in the Middle East, was in Israel Thursday, defense officials said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking from an air base in southern Israel, also on Thursday, vowed to respond directly against any attack on Israel. “Whoever harms us, we will harm them. We are prepared to meet all of the security needs of the State of Israel, both defensively and offensively,” he said.

Syria also accused Israel of carrying out the attack, which killed Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who managed Iranian paramilitary operations in Syria and Lebanon, according to Iranian state media and U.S. officials. Zahedi was the highest-ranking Iranian military official to be killed since the January 2020 U.S. assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.

At least six other Iranian militants were killed in the strike, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said.

An Israeli military spokesman said that intelligence showed the building hit in Damascus wasn’t a diplomatic facility but a building that the Quds Force uses and is disguised as a civilian site.

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