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January 23, 2019 8:29 am

Iran Is Ready to Take Risks in Battling Israel

avatar by Shimon Shapira / JNS.org

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IRGC Quds Force Commander General Qasem Soleimani. Photo: Screenshot.

JNS.orgIn response to an Israeli attack on Iranian targets in the Damascus region of Syria, which was carried out on January 20, the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard fired a medium-range surface-to-surface missile at the Hermon Region in Israel. Apparently, the attack had been planned for a long time, and was approved by the Iranian regime in Tehran. The missile was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system.

This is not the first time that Iran has reacted to an Israeli aerial attack on Iranian targets in Syria.

On May 10, 2018, the Quds Force fired more than 30 Grad and Fajr rockets toward Israel. Most of them fell inside Syrian territory, and some of them were intercepted by Israel without causing any casualties. But this time, the Quds Force fired a more accurate surface-to-surface missile toward the Hermon region, rather than at the outskirts of the Golan Heights.

Moreover, this missile attack occurred during daylight hours. The significance of firing the missile during the day was immense, because it was clear to the Quds Force that there were hundreds of Israeli tourists visiting the area.

This attack indicated Iran’s readiness to ratchet up the level of violence and take greater risks of a strong Israeli reaction, thereby leading to a possible military deterioration with Israel. If reports that some of the targets attacked by Israel were close to the Quds Force command building in the Damascus region are true, from the viewpoint of Iran, it can no longer tolerate Israeli attacks.

Therefore, it would seem that at this stage, we are facing a new strategic situation with regard to Israel’s dealing with Iran in Syria. At its foundation lies the risk that Iran, through the Quds Force, will intensify its reactions to Israeli attacks on Syria, and is even prepared to enter into a direct, limited conflict with Israel.

By no coincidence, the Iranian press released this statement by Iran’s Air Force commander Brig. Gen. Aziz Nasirzadeh: “The young people in the air force are fully ready and impatient to confront the Zionist regime and eliminate it from the Earth.”

Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira is a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He served as Military Secretary to the Prime Minister and chief of staff at the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

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