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Former defense secretary predicts Iran will strike at Israel

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Friday said Iran is likely to retaliate against Israel for a recent missile strike that hit Tehran’s consulate in Damascus, Syria.

Israel has not claimed responsibility for the strike, which killed senior Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Mohammad Reza Zahedi. Reuters cited a Lebanese security source as the first to identify Israel as the responsible party, to which an Israeli military spokesperson responded, ‘We do not comment on reports in the foreign media.’

In an interview on CNN, Esper predicted Iran will take action against Israel, but on a limited scale to avoid wide-scale war in the Middle East.

‘They are going to act,’ Esper said Friday. ‘They’re going to feel the need, to uphold their dignity, to maintain credibility with their proxies, throughout the region, and to really meet the demands of hardliners, within the theocracy that wants to see something done.’

‘But on the other hand, they’re not going to want to make this a wider war,’ he continued. ‘They don’t want to escalate. They know that a major conflict with Israel, let alone Israel and the United States would be disastrous for Iran. So, I suspect that they will limit the attack to Israel, Israeli targets.’3

Iran has said it reserves the right ‘to take a decisive response’ after the purported Israeli strike, which killed six other Iranian military advisers in addition to Zahedi. 

A senior Biden administration official told Fox News Digital that President Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about the threat from Iran on Thursday. 

‘Our teams have been in regular and continuous contact since then. The United States fully supports the defense of Israel against threats from Iran,’ the official said. 

Two U.S. defense officials said U.S. force posture has not changed in the Middle East since before Israel’s air strike in Damascus. The U.S. is monitoring the situation given the increased rhetoric from Iran, but has not made any changes to prepare for a significant attack. 

‘Nothing has changed from a force projection standpoint,’ one official said. 

Though Israel has not taken credit for the strike on Iran’s consulate, the IDF has made several operational changes, such as canceling leave for any IDF personnel and calling up additional reservists to bolster the force’s air defense systems on Israel’s northern border, The Telegraph reported.

Israel has also suffered widespread GPS disruptions on applications, with some users shown to be in Lebanon’s capital Beirut, which Israeli outlet Haaretz reported as deliberate attempts to confuse Israeli drone threats. 

IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari reiterated the multifaceted conflict Israel is fighting, saying, ‘We are in a multi-front war. We are looking not only at Hamas but all our enemies. We look at all fronts and all threats in order to be ready for any scenario.’ 

Fox News’ Liz Friden, Fox News Digital’s Peter Aitken and Reuters contributed to this report.

This post appeared first on FOX NEWS

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