Iran’s announced retaliation following the airstrike on an embassy building in Syria has put Israel and the US on high alert. Both governments are preparing at full speed for an Iranian attack “that could take different forms,” ​​CNN reported, citing a senior US government official.

Both US and Israeli targets could be targeted. According to broadcaster CBS, US government officials assume that an attack on an Israeli diplomatic facility is conceivable by the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan next week. The commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Hussein Salami, renewed threats against arch-enemy Israel. “No action by the enemy” will go unanswered, Salami said.

Report: Iran’s armed forces also on high alert

On April 1, two brigadier generals and five other members of the powerful Revolutionary Guard were killed in an air strike on the Iranian embassy compound in the Syrian capital Damascus. The Iranian Foreign Ministry and the US government believe that Israel carried out the attack. The Israeli side did not comment on the incident.

The slain Iranian Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Sahedi has now been buried in his birthplace of Isfahan in central Iran. According to the Isna news agency, thousands of people attended the state-organized funeral of the high-ranking member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

Iran’s religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei threatened retaliation. “The evil regime will be punished by our brave men,” the head of state said a day after the airstrike. The New York Times quoted two unnamed Iranian officials as saying the country has put its armed forces on high alert.

USA: Retaliation inevitable

How and when Iran’s state power will react remains unclear. However, Khamenei’s statements were interpreted to mean that military action by his own armed forces could be imminent. Senior US government officials even believed a retaliatory strike was inevitable, CNN reported. The US is preparing for a “significant” attack next week.

CBS, citing U.S. government officials, reported U.S. intelligence that Iran was planning an attack with drones and cruise missiles. The question is whether these would be sent from Iranian territory or from Iraq or Syria, it was said. The information in the reports could not be independently verified.

Israel threatens consequences

The Israeli side also believes an attack is inevitable, CNN reported. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened consequences if Iran attacks his country. “We will know how to defend ourselves and we will act on the simple principle: whoever harms us or plans to harm us, we will harm them too,” Netanyahu said.

In view of the security situation, Israel has temporarily stopped vacations in all combat units. Israel’s army also announced the mobilization of missile defense reservists. The army also disrupted Israel’s GPS positioning system to “neutralize threats.” Israeli media interpreted this as a reference to the threats from Iran.

Report: Biden asks Gaza mediators to pressure Hamas

The threat of military conflict with Iran is overshadowing US efforts to achieve a breakthrough in Cairo this weekend in already difficult indirect negotiations over a ceasefire and release of hostages in the Gaza war. According to media reports, US President Biden asked the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Mosa Nasser Al Missned, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in letters to put pressure on Hamas so that the Islamists agree to an agreement to release Israeli hostages.

A proposal is on the table that calls for a six-week ceasefire and the release of 40 hostages, the news portal “Axios” reported, citing a senior US official. CIA Director Bill Burns is scheduled to meet the head of the Israeli foreign secret service Mossad, David Barnea, Qatar’s Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and the Egyptian Intelligence Minister Abbas Kamel in the Egyptian capital this weekend.

For weeks, the USA, Qatar and Egypt have been mediating between Israel and Hamas in order to achieve a ceasefire and an exchange of hostages kidnapped from Israel for Palestinian prisoners. According to Israeli estimates, almost 100 people abducted by Hamas are still alive.

40 hostages against around 700 prisoners

The hostages to be released under the proposed deal included Israeli soldiers and other women, men over the age of 50 and men in critical health, wrote the usually well-informed Israeli journalist Barak Ravid in his Axios Report. In return, Israel would release around 700 Palestinian prisoners, including around 100 serving life sentences for killing Israelis, it said. US President Biden called on Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu to “immediately” conclude an agreement to bring the hostages back from Gaza.

In the conversation, with a view to the upcoming round of talks in Cairo, Biden asked Netanyahu to send his negotiators with a broader mandate than before in order to reach an agreement, “Axios” quoted the senior US official as saying. Biden made it clear to Netanyahu that everything must be done to secure the release of the hostages who have been held in Gaza for six months.

The war was triggered by the unprecedented massacre with more than 1,200 deaths that terrorists from Hamas and other Islamist groups carried out in Israel on October 7th last year. Israel responded to the terrorist attack with massive air strikes and a ground offensive. According to the Hamas-controlled health authority in Gaza, more than 33,000 people have died in the sealed-off coastal area. The number, which is difficult to verify independently, does not differentiate between fighters and civilians.

Nasrallah: Attack on embassy grounds is “turning point”

Since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip, there have been daily confrontations between Israel’s army and the pro-Iranian Hezbollah militia in neighboring Lebanon, sometimes with fatal outcomes. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah described the attack on the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus as a “turning point.”

In a speech, the secretary general of the Shiite organization said the Iranian response would inevitably follow. Hezbollah is not afraid and is “very well prepared” for any war, said Nasrallah. The militia has not yet used its strongest weapons. Hezbollah is considered Iran’s most important non-state ally in the Middle East – and far more powerful than Hamas.