ARAB AND WORLD

Thu 11 Apr 2024 10:38 am - Jerusalem Time

Washington expects an imminent Iranian strike on Israel and requests regional mediation

The United States of America expected Iran to launch an imminent missile strike on Israel, while the German company Lufthansa announced that it had suspended its flights to and from Tehran, due to a state of alert in anticipation of possible Iranian retaliation against the backdrop of a suspected Israeli air strike on its consulate in Syria.


Bloomberg Agency said, citing informed sources, that the United States and its allies believe that a major attack by Iran and its agents using missiles and drones against Israeli military and government targets is imminent and may occur in the coming days.


Bloomberg added that Israel's Western allies have been informed that civilian facilities are not expected to be targeted, and that the attack may not necessarily come from northern Israel.


Bloomberg also quoted the same sources as saying that the United States is helping Israel plan and exchange intelligence assessments, and that Israel has informed its allies that it is awaiting this attack before launching another possible ground attack on Rafah.


The sources added that foreign diplomatic missions in Israel are already preparing for a possible Iranian attack and are developing contingency plans for evacuation.


Israeli preparations and requests

Meanwhile, a US Department of Defense official told Al Jazeera that the Commander of Central Command, General Eric Kurella, will visit the region to discuss Iran's threats if his visit includes Israel.


Axios quoted two Israeli officials as saying that General Kurilla is expected to meet with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant.


The two officials revealed to Axios that Israel is preparing for a possible and unprecedented direct attack from Iranian territory using long-range missiles, drones, and cruise missiles against Israeli targets.


The two officials said that in such a scenario, Israel would respond with a direct attack on Iran.


Axios also quoted Israeli and American officials as saying that Washington and Tel Aviv recently discussed preparing for an Iranian response, and that Israel contacted the United States about whether it could limit the Iranian response through private and public warning messages and display its power in the region.


Lufthansa suspends its flights

Yesterday, the German company Lufthansa said that it had suspended its flights to and from Tehran since April 6, and this may continue until April 11, due to the current situation in the Middle East.


A company spokesman told Reuters, “We are constantly monitoring the situation in the Middle East and are in close contact with the authorities, and the safety of passengers and crew members is Lufthansa’s top priority.”


Lufthansa and its subsidiary Austrian Airlines are the only Western companies operating international flights to Tehran.


Austrian Airlines, which operates a direct service between Vienna and Tehran 6 times a week, is still scheduled to operate a flight to Tehran on Thursday, while there are no statements yet from other international airlines operating flights to Tehran.


An Iranian news agency briefly sparked more tension when it published a report in Arabic on the social media platform “X” stating that the airspace over Tehran had been completely closed to conduct military exercises, but the agency subsequently deleted the report and denied that it had published anything of the kind.


Washington requests mediation

In the same context, an informed source told Reuters that US Middle East envoy Brett McGurk called the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and Iraq to ask them to deliver a message to Iran urging it to reduce tension with Israel in the wake of a suspected Israeli air strike on an Iranian consulate in Syria.


The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that McGurk asked officials to communicate with the Iranian Foreign Minister to convey the message that Iran must calm down with Israel, and they did so.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and Iraq spoke by phone with the Iranian Foreign Minister and discussed the tension in the region.


Iranian Leader Ali Khamenei said that Israel “must be punished and will be punished” against the backdrop of a raid in Damascus that resulted in the killing of 7 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, including Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior leader in the Quds Force.


While Israel did not confirm its responsibility for the attack on Damascus, the US Department of Defense (the Pentagon) confirmed that it (Tel Aviv) was actually responsible for it.


Countries in the region and the United States are preparing for a possible attack by Iran in response to what is believed to be an Israeli bombing by warplanes of the Iranian consulate in Syria on April 1.


Source: Al Jazeera + agencies

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Washington expects an imminent Iranian strike on Israel and requests regional mediation

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