Following the alleged death of Iranian generals in Damascus this week, Israel prepared on Thursday for the prospect of a counterattack. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that his nation will strike “whoever harms us or plans to harm us.”

His remarks followed the announcement by Israel’s military forces, which had been strained by nearly six months of fighting in the Gaza Strip and on the Lebanese front, that they would be stopping leave for all combat units. The day before, they had declared that they were mobilizing more troops for air defense units.

Although two Iranian officials stated Tehran’s response would be measured to prevent escalation, the prospect of a larger conflict has been raised by the potential for Iran to retaliate for Monday’s alleged Israeli airstrike on Iran’s embassy compound in Damascus.

At the beginning of a security cabinet meeting late on Thursday, Netanyahu declared, “For years, Iran has been acting against us both directly and via its proxies; therefore, Israel is acting against Iran and its proxies, defensively and offensively.”

“We will know how to defend ourselves and we will act according to the simple principle of whoever harms us or plans to harm us, we will harm them,” he stated.

According to the White House, US President Joe Biden and Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu talked about Iran’s threats. Washington claimed that Biden made it quite evident that the US stands with Israel against that threat.

Residents of Tel Aviv, the business center of Israel, and Reuters journalists reported that GPS systems had been interrupted, possibly as a preventative step against guided missiles.

The airstrike on an Iranian diplomatic residence in the Syrian capital on Monday resulted in the deaths of two Iranian generals and five military advisors. Iran, Israel’s greatest adversary, has vowed to exact retribution.

The strike, which is thought to be one of the biggest on Iranian interests in Tehran’s close ally Syria, was allegedly carried out by Israel. Israel has not acknowledged nor refuted its role. Netanyahu said nothing about the assault.

Since the Palestinian Islamists went on a cross-border killing and kidnapping rampage on October 7, Israel has been advancing its war on Hamas in Gaza and has been exchanging fire with Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon virtually every day.

The Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are allied with Tehran, have periodically fired long-range rockets into Israel’s Eilat port.


Iran has refrained from intervening actively in the conflict thus far, opting instead to back its allies’ strikes on American and Israeli targets.

The Islamic Republic has a number of choices. It might escalate its nuclear enrichment program, employ Hezbollah to strike Israel directly, or unleash its highly armed proxies in Syria and Iraq on American soldiers. That would provide Tehran’s potential to produce a nuclear weapon, which the West has long sought to curtail, cause anxiety for the United States and its allies.

However, a number of diplomats and experts claim that Iran’s clerical elite would rather continue employing proxies to launch targeted tactical strikes on its enemies rather than risk an all-out conflict with the United States or Israel that would threaten its hold on power.

Following Washington’s hundreds of airstrikes on sites in Syria and Iraq connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and militias it supports in retaliation for the death of three American troops in Jordan, such proxy attacks against American forces in the area came to an end in February.

Following Monday’s strike, U.S. officials stated around the middle of the week that they had not yet received any intelligence indicating organizations supported by Iran were planning to target U.S. personnel.

Although American authorities are aware that Israeli attacks against rivals in the region may expose American forces to reprisals, they also support Israel’s efforts to halt the flow of fighters and weapons that may endanger deterrence beyond October 7.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a U.S. official stated that there was increasing fear that Iran would follow through on its threats of retaliation, increasing the possibility of a volatile, regional escalation.

Iranian officials have stated openly that their nation does not desire a major conflict that may cause instability. Iran has long-standing economic issues brought on in part by American sanctions, and it took months to quell recent public protests.

Former Israeli intelligence head Amos Yadlin stated that Iran may decide to react to the Damascus strike directly or through a proxy on Friday, the last day of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan and Iranian Quds (Jerusalem) Day.

“If Iran acts tomorrow, I won’t be shocked. Remain calm. Citing Israel’s aerial defense systems, Yadlin, who is currently at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for the Kennedy School, advised against running for the shelters.

“Be tuned for tomorrow and then, depending on the consequences of the attack, it may escalate.”