Israel raises the possibility of 'directly attacking Iran'

Israel’s Foreign Minister said the country would directly attack Iranian territory if Tehran took similar actions amid increasing bilateral tensions.

“If Iran’s attack originates from its territory, Israel will respond and attack targets in Iran,” Israel Katz, head of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, posted today on social network X at the same time. Under the post, tag the account name of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.

The threat of a tough response was made by the Israeli Foreign Minister after Mr. Khamenei, in a speech marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on April 10, said that Israel had made a mistake and would be punished for it and conducted an attack on the consulate in the Iranian embassy in the Syrian capital Damascus on April 1, killing 7 officials of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

“When they attacked the consulate, it meant they attacked Iran’s territory,” Mr. Khamenei said.

Since the outbreak of conflict in the Gaza Strip in October 2023, members of the Iran-backed “axis of resistance” in the Middle East, such as the Houthis, Hezbollah or the Iraqi Islamic Resistance Alliance (IRI), often regularly raid Israeli territory or targets that these groups believe are connected to Tel Aviv, such as cargo ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Their goal is to pressure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to end the war against Hamas forces, members of the “resistance axis.”

Israel has also repeatedly attacked Iran’s proxy forces and attacked Tehran-related targets in Syria, but the two countries have not yet fought directly.

Bilateral tensions escalated after the Iranian embassy in Damascus was raided. Among the victims was General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who led all activities of Quds special forces and pro-Iranian armed groups on the three fronts of Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.

The Iranian consulate building in Damascus, Syria, was destroyed after an attack on April 1. Photo: AP

The Iranian consulate building in Damascus, Syria, was destroyed after an attack on April 1. Photo: AP

This is the highest-ranking Iranian official to die after the US launched a missile that killed General Qassem Soleimani in January 2020.

Technically, the consulate and embassy area in Syria are Iran’s sovereign territory, so this is considered the most public attack on Tehran in many years.

Iranian officials have repeatedly warned in recent days that they will respond strongly to Israel, although Tel Aviv has not admitted to causing the attack. Israeli media said on April 4 that the country’s army was on high alert to prevent the risk of a direct attack from Iran.

US officials say Iran is likely to retaliate after the holy month of Ramadan ends.