Iran’s al Qods chief Brig.-Gen. Esmail Qaani’s talks with terrorist leaders in Syria and Beirut earlier this month produced the multiple front rockets attacks on Israel of April 6, the Wall Street Journal confirmed on Sunday, April 15. That round of rocket fire from three of Israel’s borders was just the opening shot for a forthcoming campaign set in motion by Qassem Soleimani’s successor, using the Sunni/Shiite partnership for terror he set up this month with Hizballah and Hamas proxies.
The 34 Hamas rockets from Lebanon launched against Israel on April 6, followed by three from Syria and dozens from Gaza were preceded on April 2 by an Iranian Mohajr 6 suicide drone which came from the Hizballah-controlled A-Dabaa airfield in Syria. Israel used electronic jamming measures to blow up the UAV as it skimmed north of the Kinneret Lake to prevent it from reaching its target of an important IDF position on the West Bank for multiple casualties.
Israel’s preparations for a drone offensive, following a US intelligence warning, included the mobilization of air defense reservists for the deployment of Iron Dome batteries on all endangered fronts, on the orders of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and IDF chief Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi. On Sunday, April 16, they issued a ban on private jet flights over airfields until further notice.
Confident that internal strife makes Israel more vulnerable than ever, the Iranian danger may cover a broader area than Israel’s immediate fronts in revenge for the hundreds of Israel air strikes against Iranian military and proxy targets in Syria. On April 15, the US 5th Fleet in Bahrain warned Israeli shipping in the Gulf and Red Sea to beware of Iranian drone attacks. And the Qods chief has not yet activated the Iraqi Shiite militias, some of whom are deployed in Syria, or the Yemeni Houthis whose revolt Tehran has actively sponsored.
The Yemenis are in peace negotiations with Saudi Arabia, after years of warfare and rocket and drone assaults on the kingdom’s oil and strategic facilities. A resolution of the Yemen conflict would make the Houthis available to focus its Tehran-supplied arsenal on Israel, its Red Sea shipping and its southern port of Eilat.
The al Qods chief is notoriously and extremely anti-American. He bragged to Al Jazeerah in a recent interview: “We tell everyone, be patient and see the dead bodies of Americans all over the Middle East.”
Aged 65, Esmail Qaani joined Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Crop as a young man. He rose in the ranks until 1977 when he was appointed deputy of the Al Qods chief Qasem Soleimani, to succeed him three years ago when Soleimani nd then succeeded him after he was killed by an American drone. Qaani’s career included the founding of Afghan and Pakistani Shiite militias for posting to the Syrian conflict as Tehran’s proxy forces in support of Bashar Assad.