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Tension between Iran and Israel. The head of the US Central Command visits Israel

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For several days, American and Israeli troops have been on high alert – after Iran's threats of retaliation for Israel's bombing of the consulate in Damascus. On Thursday, the head of the US Central Command, General Michael Erik Kurilla, came to Israel to hold consultations with the Ministry of Defense.

At the beginning of April, Iran declared that it would take revenge on Israel after the raid on its consulate in Damascus, Syria. Two generals and five military advisers from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed. Hezbollah also announced its response to Israel's attack.

Read also: Iran and Hezbollah have announced revenge against Israel

Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, head of US Central Command, came to Israel on Thursday to hold consultations with the Ministry of Defense in the face of the threat of a “direct” Iranian attack. A day earlier, Bloomberg wrote that Iran could hit Israeli targets with precision missiles and drones.

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After Tehran's renewed announcement of revenge, the unknown remains “when, not if, Iran will attack” Israel, Bloomberg wrote, citing sources in the US administration. On Wednesday in Tehran, the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, announced that Israel “must and will be punished” for the April 1 attack on the Iranian consulate in Syria.

Some analysts quoted by the BBC believe that Iran currently does not have the military potential for a significant confrontation, and a direct attack on Iran would mean a sharp increase in the risk of a significant escalation of the conflict. A possible alternative is an attack via one of the client armed terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah, which has been exchanging fire with Israel almost every day from Lebanon since October last year – the BBC website noted on Thursday.

– Hezbollah has much greater capabilities than Hamas and the entire territory of Israel is within the range of hundreds of thousands of its rockets and missiles – Joe Buccino, former director of communications at the US Army Central Command, told the British portal.

Iran has said it will take revenge on Israel for the raid on its consulate in DamascusABEDIN TAHERKENAREH/PAP/EPA

American forces on high alert

For several days, American and Israeli forces in the region have been put on high alert. Last week, the Israel Defense Forces canceled the leaves of soldiers serving in combat units and called up reservists to strengthen air defense units, the portal recalled.

US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that the American commitment “to Israel's security from threats from Iran and its allies is unwavering.” “We will do everything in our power to protect Israel's security,” Biden said.

In an interview with the Qatari website Al Jazeera, an American official said that if Iran attacked, US forces could help shoot down missiles and drones. In his opinion, the US has not ruled out taking joint action with Israel against the Islamic Republic or its allies if they attacked the Jewish state.

Calls for “de-escalation”

Amid rising tensions, Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency reported late Wednesday that Iran had suspended all air traffic over the capital from midnight local time due to “military exercises.” However, after several minutes she removed this information from her official channel on the X platform, and in subsequent posts she outright denied that she had published any such messages.

According to the BBC, US envoy to the Middle East Brett McGurk asked the heads of diplomacy of the governments of Arab countries – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Iraq – to appeal to Iran for “de-escalation”. The foreign ministers complied with this request, the BBC reported, citing anonymous sources in the US government.

Russia, Reuters reported, also appealed to Middle Eastern countries to “show restraint.” During Thursday's press conference, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov emphasized that it was important “not to completely destabilize the situation in a region that is not a model of stability and predictability.” On the same day, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned citizens not to travel to the Middle East, “especially to Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories.”

Iran's supreme leader – summed up the emigration website Iran International – “faced the dilemma of whether to escalate the conflict, risking serious consequences in the face of Iran's isolation and economic crisis, or to do nothing and lose credibility among his supporters in the country and the region.”

Main photo source: WAEL HAMZEH/PAP/EPA

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