Iran attacks Israel

The Middle East is now a different region.

Iran attacked Israel early Sunday morning with a combination aerial assault consisting of approximately 170 suicide drones, 30 cruise missiles, and 120 ballistic missiles.

This noteworthy attack, the first time Iran launched a direct attack on Israel, followed the April 1 airstrike allegedly by Israel on a building adjacent to the Iranian embassy in Damascus. The targeted strike resulted in the death of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander Brig Gen Mohammad Reza Zahedi and his deputy Gen Haji Rahimi. Brig Gen Hossein Amirollah, the chief of general staff for the al-Quds force in Syria is reported to have been among the victims as well.

Whether Iran was successful in its aim to avenge Zahedi’s death is under debate. If Iran only meant to attack Israel symbolically and send a message, then most experts would agree that it succeeded in doing so. After all, it terrorized the Israeli population, caused the entire country to essentially shutdown, and sent the Israeli Air Force into full alert mode.

On the flip side, some experts argue that Iran had intended to cause actual damage to Israel, sending cruise and ballistic missiles, but failed to do much damage at all as 99 percent of the projectiles were intercepted.

Unfortunately, a young 7-year-old Bedouin girl was badly injured, apparently from a fallen piece of an Iron Dome rocket launched by Israel to intercept one of the Iranian projectiles.

Iran also had to contend with several countries which stood by Israel, including the United States, the UK, France, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. It is true that Jordan for instance has its own interests and did not intend to be perceived as protecting Israel, but the alternative, which means being overrun by Iranian forces, is not an option for the Hashemite Kingdom.

At the time of this writing, it is unclear if and when Israel will respond to Iran’s attack. Several countries, including the U.S. are calling on Israel to refrain from escalating the conflict into a larger regional war and are asking Israel to show restraint.

Given the precarious situation now in Gaza and Lebanon, it is possible Israel will heed this call and choose to hit Iran in a different fashion or even in a different time and place of its choosing.
With the IDF poised at the border of Gaza, it is possible Israel will decide to enter Rafah and destroy the remaining Hamas battalions there while hoping to kill or capture the Hamas leaders and rescue the remaining 133 hostages being kept there.

Israel is likely to believe it cannot allow this attack to pass by without a response regardless of what the international community believes. Israel sees Iran as an existential threat and believes if it allows the regime there to go unpunished, it will only encourage further and more brazen attacks.

After the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack against Israel and Sunday’s Iran attack, the Middle East is a different place, and the region has now become more volatile and dangerous. The coming days and weeks will determine to what extent this is true.