Israel calls up reservists again after threats from Iran

Israel calls up reservists again after threats from Iran Israeli military personnel drive an armored personnel carrier (APC) near the Israel-Gaza border amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from Israel April 3, 2024. (OSV News photo/Hannah McKay, Reuters)
An escalation between Israel and Iran has been considered a possible scenario since the beginning of the Gaza war. Following the killing of high-ranking Iranian military personnel by the Israelis, Tehran has now threatened to retaliate.

Jerusalem (KNA): Following threats from Iran, Israel has strengthened its air defence and called up reservists. In addition, weekend leave for soldiers has been cancelled, Israeli media reported (Thursday). Israel had killed Mohammed Reza Zahedi, a high-ranking officer of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, his deputy and other military personnel in an attack on a consular building next to the Iranian embassy in Damascus on Monday. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, then vowed revenge and affirmed this on posters in the streets of Tehran.

Following the Israeli attack on Damascus, the Shia militia Hezbollah had continued its daily attacks on the Israeli border area from Lebanon, which had been ongoing for months. Israel has always responded militarily, but has not intensified the shelling any further, according to Israeli media quoting military experts. However, according to a Channel 12 news report, it cannot be ruled out that Tehran’s retaliation could come not via its “proxies” in Lebanon or Syria, but through direct rocket fire from Iranian soil. According to the broadcaster, Israel is likely to respond with significant counter-attacks. The broadcaster refers to an Iranian missile and drone attack in January on “terrorist” targets in Pakistan.

The Haaretz newspaper reported on Thursday that in recent days, Israel has also extended the increased jamming of GPS satellite navigation systems to central Israel, the Tel Aviv area and Jerusalem since 7 October. Since the start of the war, Israel has used this to thwart drone attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah. So far, the disruptions have mainly been felt in the north of the country, from Haifa to the Lebanese border.

At a coordination meeting of local authorities, the military and emergency services in the northern Israeli port city of Haifa on Wednesday, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant declared that Israel was prepared for every scenario and every threat, “against enemies near and far”. One of his country’s main tasks at present is to enable the 80,000 Israelis evacuated from the northern border to return safely to their homes. An agreement to end the threat would be preferred, “but we must prepare for the possibility of using force in Lebanon”. This could also mean a “war scenario”.