Iran’s response to Israel

In response to Israel air strike on Iranian consulate in Damascus, Iran targeted Israel with hundreds of missiles and drones believed to be the largest composite airstrike in the history.  
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Iran says Hezbollah is capable of defending itself and Lebanon, warning Israel that it would be the “ultimate loser” in an all-out war with the Lebanese armed group.

Tehran’s statement on Friday came as fears of a major Israeli offensive in Lebanon continued to mount.

“Any imprudent decision by the occupying Israeli regime to save itself could plunge the region into a new war, the consequence of which would be the destruction of Lebanon’s infrastructure as well as that of the 1948 occupied territories,” Iran’s mission to the United Nations said in a social media post.

“Undoubtedly, this war will have one ultimate loser, which is the Zionist regime. The Lebanese Resistance Movement, Hezbollah, has the capability to defend itself and Lebanon – perhaps the time for the self-annihilation of this illegitimate regime has come.”

Israel also issued a threat to Iran-aligned Hezbollah on Friday with Foreign Minister Israel Katz saying “soon we will make the necessary decisions” about confronting the Lebanese group.

“The free world must unconditionally stand with Israel in its war against the axis of evil led by Iran and extremist Islam. Our war is also your war,” Katz said.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said this week that if the Israeli military goes to war in Lebanon, his group will use its rockets and drones to hit targets across the entire territory of Israel. He warned Hezbollah would wage a war with “no restraint and no rules and no ceilings”.

Nasrallah also issued a threat to Cyprus, a European Union member that sits in the eastern Mediterranean west of the Lebanese and Israeli coasts. He said the group has information that Israel is conducting military exercises in Cyprus in terrain similar to southern Lebanon.

Nasrallah added that Israel plans to use airports and bases in Cyprus for military purposes if its own infrastructure is targeted during a serious war.

“Opening Cypriot airports and bases for the Israeli enemy to target Lebanon means the Cypriot government has become part of the war, and the resistance will deal with it as part of the war,” he said without elaborating.

Cyprus said Nasrallah’s threat is not grounded in reality, stressing the country enjoys great relations with Lebanon.

Still, the Hezbollah statement exacerbated concerns about an even larger regional war that could spill beyond Lebanon’s borders and pull Iran-allied groups – if not Tehran itself – as well as the United States into the conflict.

Hezbollah started attacking military bases in northern Israel the day after the outbreak of the war on Gaza on October 7 in what it says is a “support front” to back Palestinian groups. Israel responded by bombing southern Lebanese villages and Hezbollah positions.

While the near-daily clashes have displaced tens of thousands of people in Lebanon and Israel, they have been largely contained to the border areas.

But the violence has escalated in recent weeks, especially after an Israeli air raid killed a top Hezbollah commander in southern Lebanon last week.

On Friday, Hezbollah claimed several military operations against Israel, including a drone attack it said targeted Israeli forces at a coastal base on the western side of the border.

The US has pushed for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis while expressing concern about Hezbollah’s attacks. “We have made quite clear we do not want to see escalation of this conflict,” Department of State spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters on Thursday.

For its part, Hezbollah has said it will continue operations against the Israeli military until Israel ends its war in Gaza, which has killed more than 37,000 Palestinians.


Iran has just launched the largest ever drone strike in the world, and the biggest missile attack in its history.

Tehran, Iran – Iran’s use of hundreds of drones and missiles to directly target Israel overnight on Sunday in retaliation for an Israeli strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus set some major political and military precedents.

It was the single largest drone attack ever carried out by any country, and it was the first time Iran directly attacked Israel after almost a half-century of being archenemies.

The politics

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) dubbed the operation “True Promise” to show that top leaders in Tehran, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, intend to make good on their vows of “punishment” for attacks by Israel and others.

The attack was in response to the April 1 Israeli strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus that killed seven IRGC members, including two generals in charge of leading operations in Syria and Lebanon, along with six other people.

It was mainly aimed at strengthening Iran’s deterrence, which critics said had been compromised after increasingly confrontational policies and military strikes by the United States and its allies across the region, especially following the January 2020 assassination of top general Qassem Soleimani in Iraq.

Iranian officials also appeared to have exercised a degree of “strategic patience” after the late December assassination of another top IRGC commander in Syria, Razi Mousavi, in an Israeli air raid amid the fallout of the war on Gaza.

Inaction, lower-grade strikes, or being content with military action through the “axis of resistance” of aligned groups across the region would in this vein be viewed as too costly for Iran both locally and abroad.

That is true even as Tehran recognises that Israel and the embattled government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may see benefits in escalating tensions across the region and forcing the US military into taking more action against Iran.

On the other hand, the unprecedented Iranian attacks may have briefly shifted the world’s attention from the deaths of tens of thousands of women and children in the Gaza Strip, but they could translate into soft power gains for Iran in the Muslim world in the long run, when compared with other regional powers.

Saudi Arabia has not ruled out normalising relations with Israel despite the carnage in Gaza, and Turkey only started limiting some exports to Israel earlier this week after the Israeli government refused to allow it to airdrop aid over the besieged enclave, where infants are dying of starvation. Both Saudi Arabia and Turkey have, however, been deeply — and vocally — critical of Israel’s war on Gaza.

Iran would also have plausible arguments at the United Nations Security Council since attacks on diplomatic missions signal a violation of the Vienna Convention, and since Article 51 of the UN Charter enshrines the “inherent right” of self-defence, something Israel has been heavily leaning on since the start of the Gaza war.


Iran has warned Israel against “full-scale military aggression” in Lebanon and said it would lead to an “obliterating war”, the Islamic republic’s United Nations mission said.

“All options, [including] the full involvement of all Resistance Fronts, are on the table,” the mission wrote in a post on X late on Friday, referring to Iran-aligned armed groups across the region.

It called Israel’s threats to attack Hezbollah in Lebanon “psychological warfare” and “propaganda”.

The border between the two countries has witnessed daily exchanges of fire between Israeli forces and Hezbollah since the current conflict in Gaza broke out on October 7. Fears of a full-blown war grew this month after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was preparing for “a very tense operation” on the border with Lebanon.

Israeli forces conducted a series of attacks on Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon, an Israeli army spokesperson said early on Saturday.

“In the past few hours, warplanes attacked several Hezbollah targets, including a military site for the organisation in the Zabqin area, two operational infrastructure sites in the Khiam area, and a Hezbollah building in the al-Adissa [Odaisseh] area,” according to the Israeli Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said his country does not want to fight a war against Hezbollah, but that the army is ready for it.

“We are working on a political solution. That is always the better option,” Gallant said during a visit on Friday to troops near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.

Gallant said this week in the United States that Israel was “preparing for every scenario”.

“Hezbollah understands very well that we can inflict massive damage in Lebanon if a war is launched,” he said in Washington, DC.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has threatened a war with “no restraint and no rules and no ceilings” in case of a major Israeli offensive against Lebanon.

Amid the growing tensions, several countries, including Germany, Canada, the Netherlands and the United States, have urged their nationals to leave or avoid travel to Lebanon.


Beirut, Lebanon – Hezbollah’s effort to contain – as opposed to ending – its low-level conflict with Israel is drawing praise and condemnation from across Lebanon.

The split harks back to the 1975-1990 civil war, which split political factions across class and sectarian lines in support of or opposition to the Palestinian armed struggle against Israel being waged from Lebanon.

Now, as Israel threatens an all-out war against Iran-backed Hezbollah, sectarian tensions are climbing.

Hezbollah’s critics and political rivals blame it for waging a war against Israel without consulting other factions as Lebanon struggles to recover from a devastated economy.

Hezbollah started engaging Israel on October 8, saying it will continue until there is a ceasefire in Gaza, where Israel has killed more than 37,000 people and uprooted most of the population.

Israel’s war on Gaza started after a Hamas-led attack on Israel on October 7, in which 1,139 people were killed and 250 taken captive.

With no victory or achievements to claim nine months later, Israel may be in a predicament in Gaza, but is yet disproportionately responding to Hezbollah’s attacks and threatening another war there.

“Nobody wants a war now, but it is Israel that is the one waging conflict,” said Qassem Kassir, a Lebanese political analyst believed to be close to Hezbollah.

“If Israel launches a [full-scale] war, it will be an open and major one.”


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