Will Israel retaliate to Iranian missile attack? | World News - Hindustan Times
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Will Israel retaliate to Iranian missile attack?

Apr 15, 2024 12:10 PM IST

While Israel will choose its place and time to retaliate to Iranian provocation, Tehran has nothing more than ballistic missiles to fire at Tel Aviv.

New Delhi: After Israel with US support successfully defended Iranian missile attack last Saturday through its super-efficient ballistic missile defence (BMD), the bloody war between the two eternal rivals will be played through non-state actors rather than a direct counter from Tel Aviv as there is no strategic objective for horizontal escalation for either side.

Iranian ballistic missiles intercepted by Israel over Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem
Iranian ballistic missiles intercepted by Israel over Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem

The Iranian attack, which was visible at least two days before the actual firing of ballistic missiles and drones, was a counter to the Israeli attack on its Damascus consulate annex in which 16 people including one senior Quds force commander were killed. The visible movement of Iranian missiles and drones gave enough notice to the US, Israel and Jordan to prepare the BMD against the oncoming strike.

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The question that needs to be asked is how many Iranian ballistic missiles, cruise missiles or Shahed 136 drones reached Israel ? Fact is that at a speed of 165 kilometer per hour, it takes an Iranian drone or loitering ammunition at least nine hours to reach Israel. And by that time it can be blown out of the sky. How many ballistic missiles reached Israel? Fact is that a few of the ballistic missiles reached Israel but were taken care of by state of the art technology through Iron Dome, Patriot and David’s Sling BMDs.

While Israel will choose its place and time to retaliate to Iranian provocation, Tehran has nothing more than ballistic missiles to fire at Tel Aviv. It does not have an Air Force or even a Navy to take on the military superiority of Israel with all the planes at least 30 years old and no spare parts available. So the best option for the Tehran regime after it has satisfied its domestic audiences through April 13 retaliation is to use proxies like Hezbollah, Houthis,. Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Kaitab Hezbollah to attack Israel. But can the Iranian proxies take on Israel from Lebanon now and subsequently get annihilated in the process by losing power in Beirut.

Israel on the other hand has multiple platforms to deliver force to Tehran as the latter has no missile defence worth its name. It can deliver destruction to Tehran through missiles, drones and bomber jets without any credible counter in Iranian airspace. But this will lead to horizontal conflagration in the Middle-East, something which the US or its allies in the Middle-East will not allow. Simply put, both have scored points before their domestic audiences and the political objectives have been satisfied.

While the Israel war on Gaza is about Hamas releasing hostages kidnapped by terrorists on October 7, a full-fledged Israel-Iran war will be an upheaval in West Asia which the world cannot afford. Hence, in the near future, Iran will continue to use proxies to keep the Middle-East region unstable with Israel countering them with force through top end military technology and firepower. But the first round of the Israel-Iran war seems over.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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