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After Iranian artillery attack, Israel questions what next steps in Gaza war might be

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This weekend, Israel and its allies shot down a series of Iranian missiles and drones, and many are beginning to wonder what the latest exchange between Israel and Iran means for the war in Gaza.

Iran’s attack was in retaliation for an Israeli attack on the embassy complex in Damascus this month that killed seven Iranian officials, including three top commanders of Iran’s armed forces. But this is happening against the backdrop of the war in Gaza, where Israel is fighting the Iranian-funded and armed militant group Hamas.

Israeli military analysts are divided over whether a more direct confrontation with Iran would change the Gaza war, now in its sixth month. The next pivot in the war could hinge on whether Israel decides to pursue Hamas in the southern city of Rafah, where more than a million Palestinians have fled an escalating humanitarian crisis.

Some analysts believe the impact on Gaza will depend on whether Israel launches a major counterattack against Iran. Others believe that Israel’s military operations in the Gaza Strip will not be affected.

Shlomo Brom, a retired brigadier general and former director of the Israeli military’s strategic planning department, said that if Israel responds with large-scale force to Iran’s attack, it may trigger a multi-front war and force the Israeli leadership to turn its attention away from Iran. Move away from other aspects. Gaza.

General Brom said that if serious regional fires broke out, Israel might choose to delay its planned invasion of Rafah, which Israeli officials say is Hamas’s last stronghold.

“We are not comfortable with a high-intensity war in multiple theaters simultaneously,” General Brohm added.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to send ground troops into Rafah despite international pressure. An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Sunday that the Iranian attack would not affect the military’s plans to invade Rafah.

General Brohm says a large-scale direct confrontation with Iran could end the war in Gaza. But ending the war in this way would require a broader ceasefire that would include Israel, Iran and the Iran-backed militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah.

“There is an idea that in order to resolve the crisis, the situation first needs to get worse,” he said, explaining that an escalation and a comprehensive ceasefire with Iran could prompt the country to push its regional proxies to stop fighting Iran. Israel.

While members of Israel’s war cabinet made no official statement after Sunday’s meeting, an Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the country would respond to the Iranian attack – despite the considerable fallout. Uncertainty about when and how.

However, other military experts deny any connection between the Iranian attack and the war in Gaza.

“There is no connection at all,” said Amos Gilead, a retired major general who served in Israeli military intelligence.

General Gilead said the Israeli military has sufficient resources to fight Iran and continue its war against Hamas in Gaza.

Other analysts have made similar arguments, arguing that the resources needed to strike Iran are different from those needed in Gaza. They say Israel needs fighter jets and air defense systems to counter Iran. In contrast, the military mainly needs ground troops, drones and attack helicopters to fight Hamas in Gaza, they added.

“There’s no real tension between those two things,” said Giora Eiland, a retired major general and former head of Israel’s National Security Council.

Still, Gen. Eiland said the success of a coalition that included the United States, Britain and Jordan in repelling an Iranian attack could inspire Israel to use the momentum to overcome its declining international standing by ending the war in Gaza.

While the United States, Israel’s closest ally, broadly supports Israel’s decision to launch war in Gaza, it has increasingly expressed displeasure at the rising death toll and warned against launching a large-scale ground attack on Rafah. The United States on Sunday offered Israel support for shooting down Iranian drones and missiles, potentially giving it greater leverage over its Israeli counterparts.

While Gen. Eiland said such an outcome could help Israel build goodwill among the international community and help reach a solution to end the war in Gaza and the skirmishes with the Iran-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah, he doubted Neta Whether Mr Nyahu will do so. Wallet is such a way.

“He said he wanted a ‘total victory’ in Gaza and the conquest of Rafah, a process that could take two or three months,” he said, referring to the prime minister. “It’s clear that Netanyahu has a different mentality and priorities.”

Aaron Boxerman Reporting from Jerusalem.

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