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‘Incredibly reckless’ – US officials criticize Damascus strike as Israel readies army for Iranian response

IDF calls up air defense reserves, disrupts GPS in large parts of the country

Iron dome anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets fired from the Gaza Strip to Israel, in Sderot on May 13, 2023 (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90).

Several former and active U.S. officials criticized the alleged Israeli strike on an Iranian building in Damascus earlier this week, as Israel prepares for a tense weekend in anticipation of an Iranian response.

Former senior CIA official Ralph Goff called Israel’s strike “incredibly reckless” when speaking to the New York Times.

“It will only result in escalation by Iran and its proxies, which is very dangerous… the Israelis are writing checks that U.S. CENTCOM forces will have to cash,” he added, referring to attacks by Iranian proxy forces on U.S. troops in the Middle East.

The Israeli strike “risks tipping an already volatile, unstable region into full-scale war,” concurred Dana Stroul, former top Pentagon Middle East policy official who now working at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Retired 4-star general and former CENTCOM commander Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. called the elimination of several senior Quds Force commanders “a blow.”

“Their long-term, carefully developed relationships will be lost,” he added, adding that while he expected Iranian retaliation, fears of a major escalation were overblown.

Despite this, Israel has been taking numerous measures over the past few days to prepare its army and the public for an anticipated response from Iran, where officials continue to publicly threaten the Jewish state several times a day.

In his latest threat on Wednesday night, Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei wrote on 𝕏 in Hebrew: “With God’s help, we will make the Zionists repent for their crime of aggression against the Iranian consulate in Damascus.”

On Wednesday evening, Iranian media b showed footage of large crowds in Iran receiving the bodies of officers who perished, alongside warnings from several Iranian Telegram channels: “Wait for tomorrow night.”

The IDF announced on Wednesday that it had increased the readiness of its aerial defense system and recruited additional reservists. In addition, Israeli media reported that the Air Force (IAF) went on high alert in the evening.

On the northern borders with Lebanon and Syria, the IDF also raised the level of alert to counter possible attacks by Iranian-backed militias, especially Hezbollah forces.

On Thursday, the army declared a general curfew for all combat units this coming weekend to remain at full strength during the coming days.

On the civilian side, many Israelis were surprised by GPS disruptions across the country on Thursday morning, intended to prevent attacks by GPS-guided munitions. Residents of northern Israel have been experiencing this phenomenon since the start of the war, however, as a side effect, millions of Israelis couldn’t use their GPS-guided navigation apps on Thursday morning.

Among other reports, some municipal authorities in the greater Tel Aviv area have considered opening their public shelters, while Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center conducted a training exercise for responding to a multi-casualty event.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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