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What prompted Iran to attack Israel?

Iran initiated drone and missile attacks on Israel as a retaliatory act following a lethal strike on its consulate in Damascus, Syria. Though Israel has not officially claimed responsibility for the consulate attack, it is widely suspected to be the perpetrator.

This incident marks the first direct attack by Iran on Israel, escalating a long-standing covert conflict where both nations have targeted each other’s interests without overtly acknowledging these actions.

The intensity of these conflicts has increased significantly amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza, triggered by an assault from the Palestinian group Hamas on Israeli communities in October of the previous year.

The hostility between Israel and Iran dates back to the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, which ended the friendly relations the countries previously maintained. The new Iranian regime has consistently opposed Israel, calling for its elimination and not recognizing its right to exist. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has labeled Israel as a “cancerous tumor” destined to be eradicated.

Israel views Iran as a significant existential threat, citing Iran’s aggressive rhetoric, its support and arming of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, and its alleged covert pursuit of nuclear weapons, although Iran denies such allegations.

Iran’s recent attack was specifically in response to the April 1st airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, which resulted in the death of several Iranian commanders, including Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi of the Quds Force. Iran attributes this strike to Israel, viewing it as a breach of its sovereignty, although Israel has not confirmed its involvement. Thirteen individuals, including Zahedi, were reported killed in the attack.

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