Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Israel vs. Iran?

When I was in Israel in the spring of 2012, on sabbatical, there was lots of war talk between Israel and Iran, but nothing happened. I even wrote a short blog post on the question of when to plan the European vacation, wishing to be notified ahead of time when I should visit Europe to avoid the Iranian counterattack if Israel bombed the Iranian nuclear facilities. Well, today it sounds like there actually will be an Iranian attack on Israel, in retaliation for several recent Israeli attacks on Iranian weapons depots in Syria.

According to Haaretz, just now:
Also Tuesday, the Israeli ordered communities in the northern Golan Heights, near the Israel-Syria border, to open shelters to the public after identifying "unusual movements" of Iranian forces in Syria, the military said in a statement.

The Israeli army believes Iran is making efforts to carry out an imminent retaliation against Israel. Intelligence officers and other specialized forces have been called up, though reserve combat units have not been drafted.

CNN reported that Pentagon officials are concerned about signs that Iran might be preparing a military strike against Israel from Syria.

Israeli military bases were preparing for a possible Iranian attack.

Israel believes Iran is determined to retaliate for the April 9 airstrike on Syria’s T4 airbase, which killed seven Iranian military advisers and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Iran blames Israel for this attack. 
The military said any Iranian strike against Israel will be met with a severe response, even as the working assumption is that Iran is has limited capabilities to engage in conflict with Israel. 
Earlier, the U.S. Embassy in Israel issued an alert warning all U.S. government employees not travel to the Golan Heights unless they obtain an approval in advance. "Due to the recent tensions in the region, until further notice, U.S. government employees are required to obtain advance approval if they wish to travel to the Golan Heights," the warning on the website read. 
For more details on the opening of bomb shelters in northern Israel, see this Ynet article: https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5255105,00.html
The IDF went on high alert for a possible flare-up with neighboring Syria on Tuesday as US President Donald Trump announced he was withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. 
The IDF said that, after identifying "irregular activity" by Iranian forces in Syria, it instructed civic authorities on the Golan Heights to ready bomb shelters, deployed new defenses and mobilized some reservist forces. 
The order to prepare bomb shelters on the Golan was unprecedented during Syria's civil war. Israel captured the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally.

"In recent years, we've been making preparations in coordination with the IDF and the Home Front Command so we could deal with escalation in the Golan area in the best possible way," said the head of the Golan Regional Council Eli Malka. "We've been witnessing the very significant preparations the IDF has been doing all over the Golan, and we're confident the IDF could provide a proper response and defend the residents of the Golan and the State of Israel.
 
In addition to the Golan, mayors in other northern communities ordered the opening of bomb shelters.

In Safed, while receiving no specific instructions from the IDF on the matter, the mayor decided to open public shelters to help residents feel more secure.

"The public is being asked to ensure the shelters in residential buildings are accessible, clean and aired-out," a message to Safed residents said.

The mayor of Karmiel got no special instructions from the military either, but nevertheless decided to open public shelters as well.

Israel has posted Iron Dome short-range air missile defenses on the Golan, suggesting that the anticipated attack could be by ground-to-ground rockets or mortars.
Also, Israel apparently just carried out airstrikes in Syria, south of Damascus.







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