Iran

Spotlight on Iran (April 3-11, 2024)

World Jerusalem Day rallies were held across Iran on April 5, 2024, like every year on the last Friday of Ramadan. This year’s rallies were marked by the war in the Gaza Strip and the attack attributed to Israel in Damascus on April 1, 2024. The New York Times reported that Iran operated clandestine weapons smuggling routes through Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan to Judea and Samaria. According to the report, Iran uses organized crime gangs, activists in extremist organizations, soldiers, intelligence agents, and Bedouin smugglers. The Iranian foreign minister made a round of visits to Oman and Syria. The Iranian president spoke with Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, to offer his condolences over the death of his three sons in an IDF attack in the Gaza Strip. A Syrian news channel reported that the IRGC had transferred a shipment of suicide UAVs from Albukamal in eastern Syria to the south of the country. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for attacking numerous military and strategic targets in Israeli territory. The Houthis in Yemen carried out several attacks against vessels in the Red Sea.
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Spotlight on Iran (March 27, 2024 – April 3, 2024)

The commander of the IRGC’s Qods Force in Syria and Lebanon, Mohammad Reza Zahedi (Hassan Mahdavi), along with his deputy and five other Iranians, were killed in an airstrike on a building adjacent to the Iranian embassy in Damascus. Following the attack, senior Iranian officials threatened a harsh response against Israel. The head of Hamas’ political bureau and the secretary-general of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) held meetings with senior Iranian government officials. Senior Iranian government officials continued political contacts regarding the war in Gaza. The IRGC continues to transfer weapons to pro-Iranian militias in eastern Syria. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for several attacks against targets in Israel in response to Israel’s continued activity in the Gaza Strip. The main incident involved the launching of a UAV at the Gulf of Aqaba, which struck an IDF base in Eilat. Iraqi Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein stressed that any decision to attack from Iraqi soil required the
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Spotlight on Iran (March 20, 2024 – March 27, 2024)

In recent months, the smuggling of advanced weapons from Iran to Judea and Samaria was thwarted by the Israeli security forces. The Special Operations Directorate of the IRGC’s intelligence organization and the Qods Force Special Operations Unit in Syria were responsible for those smuggling attempts. Those attempts provide further evidence of the increasing efforts by Iran, led by the IRGC, to expand its activity and support for terrorism in Judea and Samaria. Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, arrived in Tehran and met with the Iranian supreme leader, the Iranian president, and the foreign minister. This is Haniyeh’s second visit to Tehran since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip. Concurrently with his visit, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) secretary-general Ziad al-Nakhalah arrived in Iran as well. The spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry referred to the Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip as “a positive but insufficient step.” He called for practical and effective steps to implement the resolution and stop the Israeli attacks. The IRGC announced the death of an IRGC’s Qods Force “military advisor” in an Israeli airstrike in the Deir ez-Zor area in eastern Syria on the night of March 26, 2024. Reports of unusual activity by the IRGC and pro-Iranian militias in the Albukamal area in eastern Syria. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for carrying out several attacks against strategic sites in Israel. In practice, no such attacks were detected. The Houthis in Yemen continued to carry out daily attacks against vessels in the Red Sea area using missiles and UAVs.
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Expansion of Houthi Activities in the Red Sea

During the past two months the activities of the Houthis in Yemen have expanded. They have continued attacking targets they define as "Israeli" or "supporting Israel," mainly vessels sailing in the Red Sea on sea lanes passing through Israel, and have declared their intention to expand their attacks to the Indian Ocean and the sea route around the southern tip of Africa. Meanwhile, they have attacked American and British warships, as well as ships belonging to European Union countries which joined the campaign against the Houthi threat, all of which they claim help Israel and all of which attack Houthi forces in Yemeni territory.Three missiles were launched at Israel, one of which entered Israel's airspace and exploded in its territory, without damage or casualties, the first time for such an occurrence. Nevertheless, there has recently been a noticeable decline in the number of missiles and UAVs launched at Israeli territory compared to the beginning of the war. In ITIC assessment, the conflict in the Red Sea area will continue as long as the war in the Gaza Strip continues, and may escalate if the Houthis do in fact make good on their threat to attack ships in the Indian Ocean and thereby endanger the Asia's entire maritime trade with the West.
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Spotlight on Iran (March 14, 2024 – March 20, 2024)

Continued coordination between Iran and its partners in the “axis of resistance:” The Iranian foreign minister sent letters to the leaders of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and Hezbollah . Senior IRGC officials reportedly met in February 2024 with representatives of the “resistance front” from the region and agreed with them on the need to avoid expanding the war. The Syrian defense minister arrived in Tehran in mid-March 2024 for a visit and met with senior Iranian officials. Iran is reportedly using large European ports to provide cover for arms shipments to Hezbollah. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for launching UAVs at the Golan Heights and Ben Gurion Airport. Syrian news channels recently reported unusual activity by the pro-Iranian militias in the Albukamal area in eastern Syria. Houthi attacks in Yemen continue on a daily basis against vessels in the Red Sea.. On March 19, 2024, the Houthis announced the launch of cruise missiles at targets in the Eilat area
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Spotlight on Terrorism: Hezbollah, Lebanon and Syria (March 14 – 18, 2024)

Hezbollah continued attacking against Israeli military targets along the border, carrying out 29 attacks. In response, IDF forces attacked Hezbollah targets in south LebanonGiven the increase of IDF attacks in Lebanon, Hezbollah issued a video threatening reprisals in kind if the IDF continues expanding its attacks in Lebanon.According to a report, last month Esmail Qaani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps' Qods Force, met with Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Hezbollah. Nasrallah reportedly told him that Hezbollah would fight on its own against Israel, and called on Iran to remain uninvolved in direct fighting out of concern for the safety of its nuclear facilities and to avoid a confrontation with the United States.Hezbollah targets northeast of Damascus were attacked in an airstrike attributed to Israel.The British Telegraph reported that Iran smuggled weapons to Hezbollah using ships passing through the Suez Canal en route to ports in Europe.
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