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Israeli leaders strive to calm public amid fears of Iranian retaliation

IDF General: ‘Worst yet to come,’ Israeli embassies worldwide close down

IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari gives a statement to the media in Tel Aviv on Oct. 16, 2023 (Photo: Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90).

Israeli leaders tried to calm the Israeli public on Thursday after Iranian threats and reports of protective measures taken by Israel over the past days began a series of widespread rumors of an impending attack. Some rushed to buy food and withdraw cash in fear of a broader war breaking out with Iran and its proxies.

Media reports stated that the CIA had warned Israel about a possible Iranian response to the alleged Israeli strike that killed even officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) near the Iranian embassy in Syria over the weekend.

Unlike similar past incidents, experts fear that amid the heightened tensions during the ongoing Gaza War, the Iranian regime might plan a large-scale response against the Israeli homeland.

Israeli officials have intelligence showing Iran could attack Israel using long-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles or drones, the Axios news outlet reported.

Fears were stoked further by comments from the IDF’s Intelligence Directorate commander, Maj.-Gen. Aharon Haliva, which was widely reported by Israeli media on Thursday.

While speaking at a gathering of intel officers, Haliva said, “It is not certain that the worst is behind us, and we have complex days ahead of us.”

Army Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Daniel Hagari downplayed Haliva’s comments in a statement, saying Israel was keeping an eye on all its enemies.

“The comments were made in a closed forum at the IDF Intelligence Directorate and it is good that we take a close look at some of the scenarios in order to be properly prepared,” he added.

Numerous outlets also reported that Israel was shuttering several embassies temporarily worldwide and ordered its personnel to stay home, fearing the Iranian regime might retaliate for the alleged Israeli strike on the Iranian embassy by targeting Israeli diplomats.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry later denied this, according to the Times of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday evening assured the Israeli public and the nation's enemies that Israel could defend itself.

“We will act according to the simple principle of whoever harms us or plans to harm us, we will harm them,” he asserted.

Hagari made several statements throughout the day to calm rumors of an impending Iranian missile strike, repeatedly underscoring that the IDF was ready for every scenario and there were no updates regarding instructions to the general public.

“There is no need to buy generators, store food and withdraw money from ATMs. As we have done til today, we will immediately update about any change if it is in an official and orderly manner,” he emphasized.

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

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