Home News U.S. and Iranian officials say Iran may attack Israel, not U.S. troops

U.S. and Iranian officials say Iran may attack Israel, not U.S. troops

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Iran is expected to launch attacks on Israel soon but not on the United States or its forces, U.S. and Iranian officials said on Friday, as Tehran retaliated for Israeli bombings in Damascus, Syria that killed several senior Iranian commanders. Loss of life.

U.S. intelligence analysts and officials believe Iran will attack multiple targets in Israel in the coming days, three U.S. officials said on condition of anonymity. They are not authorized to discuss sensitive issues publicly. Officials did not say what form the attack would take, what targets it would involve or when it would occur – information that is closely guarded by top Iranian officials.

Iranian officials said the United States, an important ally of Israel, has military forces in various parts of the Middle East, but Iran may not target them to avoid triggering a direct conflict with the United States. Iranian and U.S. officials, who also insisted on anonymity, said.

In the early months of the war between Israel and Hamas, Iranian-backed militias frequently attacked U.S. troops in Iraq, Syria and Jordan. But after a drone strike in Jordan in January killed three Americans, US launches retaliatory strikesIran stopped the attack Its agents fear a more forceful U.S. response. Despite the conflict and hostile rhetoric, both Iranian and American leaders have made clear their desire to avoid an all-out war.

Iran has repeatedly vowed publicly to retaliate for the attack on its embassy complex in Damascus that killed three generals and four other officers of its elite Quds Force, the foreign military and intelligence arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. But analysts say Iran’s leaders want to tailor their response to be large enough to let home and abroad know that Iran is not powerless in the face of conflict, but not so large that it turns into a full-blown conflict with Israel or war. Inviting an attack from the United States.

How Israel will respond to an Iranian attack on its territory is unclear. Israeli Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said in a statement on Friday that the Israeli military “continues to pay close attention to what is happening in Iran and in different areas.” “Our troops are ready to respond to any situation,” he added.

Iran hopes to exploit the growing differences between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Joe Biden over Israel’s war against Hamas, said a strategist with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and one of the Iranian officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. rather than unite them. hostility toward Iran.

The Biden administration has not only criticized the level of death and destruction caused by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip, but has also expressed concern that increased conflict on Israel’s northern border, primarily with Iranian proxies such as Hezbollah, could escalate into a broader regional war.

Iran believes it can gain international support for retaliatory measures by focusing attention on the attack on its embassy complex, a rare violation of the norms of war, and arguing that it was merely self-defense, officials said. Attack support.

International law generally considers embassies and consulates immune from attack. But Israeli officials argue that the building they destroyed was for nominal diplomatic use and was being used as a Revolutionary Guards base, as evidenced by senior commanders who met there when they were killed.

Richard Perez-Pena Contributed reporting.

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