Israel Weighs Retaliatory Strike on Tehran: Report

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Reuters)
April 15, 2024

Israel is weighing a retaliatory strike targeting Tehran to "send a message" after Iran launched hundreds of missiles and drones toward the Jewish state over the weekend, according to a Washington Post report.

"Everybody agrees that Israel must respond. How to respond, when to respond, is the question," an Israeli official told the Post on the condition of anonymity. The official said Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met with Israel Defense Forces officials to discuss a response that would "send a message" but not result in casualties, with one option being a strike on a facility in Tehran. 

Iran on Saturday night fired 110 surface-to-surface missiles, 36 cruise missiles, and 185 drones toward Israel in retaliation for an Israeli airstrike earlier this month that killed two Iranian commanders in Syria. Israel said its aerial defenses intercepted 99 percent of the missiles and drones, with only one young girl injured and one military base slightly damaged. 

Many of Israel’s allies—including the the United States, France, and Britain—have since urged Israel not to retaliate against Iran, hoping to avert a potential escalation into a wider regional war.   

"Our allies do not want us to go for an over-the-top response and we want to work with our allies, especially after the success we enjoyed with them," the anonymous Israeli official said. "We don’t have to cause casualties but it’s important that we do respond, because it sends a message to all those who want to harm us."

Israeli outlet Channel 12 reported that Israel's war cabinet determined it must retaliate "forcefully" against Iran's attack, but not in such a way as to escalate the conflict into a regional war.

Yair Golan, former deputy IDF chief of staff, said "on different levels of intensity, Israel has been fighting Iran for years" and that the fighting will continue whether or not Israel retaliates. "We cannot be confused here. Iran has escalated the war," Golan said. "But Israel needs to act smartly in order to strengthen the regional and global front against them."

Hamas over the weekend rejected another offer from Israel for a temporary ceasefire in exchange for the release of Israeli hostages. 

Israel’s intelligence agency said in a statement that the rejection "proves that [Hamas] does not want a humanitarian deal and the return of the hostages, is continuing to exploit the tension with Iran, and is striving to unite the sectors and achieve a general escalation in the region."