Iran could attack Israel in the next 24 to 48 hours: Report

'The Supreme Leader is still weighing the political risks of the move'

Syria Israel Rescue work in progress in Iranian Embassy in Damascus, Syria, after an airstrike, carried out allegedly by Israel | AP

Israel is preparing for a direct attack from Iran in the next 24 to 48 hours, said reports citing US intelligence reports.

While plans to attack are being discussed among Iran's top leadership, no final decision has been taken in this regard, according to The Wall Street Journal. The report, quoting an unnamed person, said Israel is preparing for an attack on either the southern or northern part. 

"The strike plans are in front of the Supreme Leader and he is still weighing the political risk," an adviser to Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said. However, it is unclear whether the attack would come directly from Iran or via one of its proxies.

Iran had vowed to retaliate after an airstrike on an Iranian consulate building in the Syrian capital of Damascus killed several Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders, including two generals. Though Israel did not take responsibility for the attack, Iran believes it was carried out by the Israeli Defence Forces. 

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari too claimed that Israeli intelligence proved the building was not an embassy, but rather "a military building of Quds forces disguised as a civilian building in Damascus." 

The intelligence report has also prompted the US to impose travel restrictions for its employees in Israel. The US embassy said staff had been told not to travel outside the greater Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or Beersheba areas "out of an abundance of caution". 

Washington is also reportedly in touch with Israeli authorities. The Pentagon confirmed that Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, commander of US Central Command which overlooks military operations in the Middle East, was in Israel Thursday.  

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also spoke with his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Gallant. Though he reiterated the US's ironclad support for Israel’s defence, Austin is said to have expressed his disappointment for not notifying the US before the airstrike on the consulate in Damascus. US officials quoted in the report say Austin’s complaint was based on the fact that the strike increased risks to American forces in the region.

Meanwhile, posts started appearing on social media, simulating Iranian attacks on Israel, including at the nuclear facility in Dimona and the small airport in Haifa.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government was ready to meet any security challenge, warning that Israel would harm any country that caused it harm. "We are prepared to meet all of the security needs of the State of Israel, both defensively and offensively," he said.


Join our WhatsApp Channel to get the latest news, exclusives and videos on WhatsApp