Iran-Israel conflict enters ‘unpredictable new phase’: WSJ

The Cradle, April 15, 2023 —

IRGC head Esmail Qaani has reportedly coordinated recent attacks by the resistance axis against Israel, causing great concern in Tel Aviv.

The long covert war between Iran and Israel is moving into an “unpredictable new phase,” the Wall Street Journal reported on 15 April, citing concerns that the resistance axis — including Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) — is coordinating its response to recent Israeli violence in Syria and occupied Palestine.

Citing anonymous sources, the WSJ reported that Esmail Qaani, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) elite Quds Force, held a series of clandestine meetings with resistance leaders across the region in recent weeks.

The Quds Force chief visited Lebanon last week where he met with the leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah, and the PIJ.

The visit coincided with a barrage of rockets fired at Israel from the south of the country, in the largest such attack since the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel. Rockets were also fired at Israel from Gaza and Syria, and Israel responded by launching airstrikes against targets in both.

The WSJ reported further that in late March, General Qaani held meetings in Syria with members of Palestinian resistance groups to discuss a possible coordinated attack on Israel. According to the sources, Qaani told attendees that Iran had obtained information about Israel’s plans for operations against members of both Hamas and PIJ in Syria and Lebanon.

The sources claimed further that that on 3 April, IRGC advisers landed in Beirut to plan for a strike on Israel and that Qaani said it was “important to attack Israeli targets within days in response to Israeli strikes that had killed Iranian advisers in Syria.”

The WSJ notes that “Israel now fears fresh onslaughts on multiple fronts,” and that “Israel has cause for concern,” due to General Qaani’s “effort to unite Tehran’s allies.”

The increased unity and coordination of the various resistance factions comes after Israel has carried out hundreds of attacks targeting Syrian and Iranian forces in Syria in recent years. Notably, Iranian officials have said recent Israeli strikes in Syria killed several IRGC military advisers, including a close adviser to the IRGC leadership.

Qaani’s effort to coordinate a response also followed an increase in military raids, home demolitions, and settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank since the election of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in December. These have in turn been met by an increase in Palestinian attacks on Israeli soldiers and settlers.

Tensions in the region have further increased following several Israeli police assaults on Muslim worshipers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem during the holy month of Ramadan.

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