Israel on edge for Iranian retaliation after embassy strike

JERUSALEM — Israel braced for potential attacks from Iran or its proxies Friday, following increased warnings of retaliation for last week’s killing of a senior officer at Iran’s embassy in Damascus.

Several countries, including India, France, Poland, and Russia, have advised their citizens against traveling to the region, which is already tense from the ongoing Gaza conflict, now in its seventh month. John Kirby, a White House National Security Council spokesman, described the threat from Iran as “real and viable.”

The Israeli military has not issued new instructions to civilians but urged people to remain vigilant.

“Over the past day, the military has conducted a situational assessment and approved plans for a range of scenarios following reports and statements on an Iranian attack,” said Daniel Hagari, chief military spokesman, in a televised statement Friday.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on reports that some Israeli diplomatic missions had been partially evacuated and security heightened.

“The revenge will come,” Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s largest daily newspaper, reported. “For the moment, the premise is that it will be very soon, in the next few days.”

Israel has not acknowledged responsibility for the April 1 airstrike that killed Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, and six other officers at a meeting in the Damascus embassy compound.

However, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stated that Israel “must be punished and shall be” for the operation, which he equated to an attack on Iranian soil.