The swiftness of the pro-Iranian militia’s missile attack on IDF Hermon positions on Monday, Sept.9 – hours after an unidentified air strike on their Abu Kamal bases near the Syria-Iraq border – attested to a radical change of tactics by the forces commanded by the Al Qods chief, Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. Arab sources reported that 21 members of Al Qods, the Shiite militias deployed in Syria and Hizballah were killed in that air strike. In reprisal, those forces fired Zelzal 2 surface missiles from a point near Damascus at the iDF’s Hermon bases. They were obeying new orders from Soleimani to henceforth react immediately to any Israeli attacks, copying the Hamas tactic of instant retaliation for IDF attacks.
The IDF’s northern forces were placed on highest alert Monday night and the population advised to stay in protected areas in view of estimates that Iran and its proxies are preparing a second attack in reprisal for the air strike on its Abu Kamal weapons depots in eastern Syria.
The new policy was formulated on Aug. 23 at a secret counsel of war held in Beirut by Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Gen. Hossein Salami, Soleimani and the Hizballah leader, Hassan Nasrallah. Since then, Hizballah, the pro-Iranian Shiite militias serving in Syria and Iraq, as well as the Palestinian terrorist organizations deferring to Tehran. have been immersed in preparations to implement the new tactic.
Hizballah went first, firing two rockets from Lebanon on Sept. 1 at an IDF military ambulance driving on Israel’s northern border. On Sept. 7, Hamas launched its first explosive drone from the Gaza Strip at an IDF border patrol – an advance from explosive balloons. Both missed their targets. The third incident in the new cycle, the surface missile fired on Monday against IDF positions on Mt. Hermon could easily have been a match to a powder keg. However, Israel’s leaders and military chiefs decided to take advantage of the fact that the Zelzal 2 missed its target and exploded on Syrian soil and refrained from responding.
There is no explanation as yet for the premature implosion of the Iran-made missile. But the message it carried was clear: Iranian and pro-Iranian forces will be emulating the Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad and for the first time in years have determined to hit back for Israeli attacks on their forces and satellites in Syria, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and Iraq. This presents Israel’s high military command with a new challenge from at least three neighboring borders and a much heightened potential for a major conflagration.