A major Iranian attack on Israel is closer than most believe. In a post that appeared in the Jerusalem Post on December 6, Yaakov Katz, the long-time military correspondent and current editor-in-chief of the newspaper, describes what such a scenario might look like. Katz assumes that the war will begin with drones and cruise missiles that Iran will use to attack Israel from Syrian or Iraqi territory. The Iranian drone attack on the Saudi Arabian oil company Saudi Aramco’s equipment on September 14 could serve as a blueprint. According to the Reuters news agency, this had been personally approved by Iran’s top leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
Nobody had seen this attack coming, it hit Saudi Arabia unprepared and helpless. In an interview with Mena-Watch (where this article first appeared, editor’s note), engineer and drone expert Igor Tchouchenkov from the Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, System Technology and Image Analysis explained at the time that there was practically no defense against military attacks or terrorist attacks with drones there is – unless the defender knows in advance where and when the attack will occur, which is not realistic. “You can let drones fly so low that they can only be located from the ground a few hundred meters away,” said Tchouchenkov. “Then there are only seconds to react.”
Yaakov Katz believes that Israel could be overwhelmed like Saudi Arabia, in a combined missile and drone attack: “The missiles will come in deep after being in the air for almost an hour, and if they hit, they’ll be off come to a point just above the horizon. People who watch the attack will later remember that the missiles had not fallen from the sky. They flew straight to their target like a bullet. “
“Then what will Israel do?”
A few minutes later, says Katz, the drones will hit. “You will have been in low flight for a long time; they will start in Iraq, then cross Syria, then across the border into Israel. The ‘swarm’ of drones and cruise missiles – as it will be called later – will hit the country unprepared. ”What the precise target of the attack would be is less relevant – it could be the Haifa oil refinery as well as an apartment block in Kiryat Shmona or a school in Katzrin.
Even if this scenario is still fiction at the moment, it is one that the Israeli army leadership is talking about “regularly” these days, says Katz. “It takes place in the minds of IDF generals and intelligence officers who are responsible for monitoring every step of Iran, from Tehran to the bases of its agents in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and the Gaza Strip.”
The model is very similar to the Iranian attack on Saudi Aramco’s oil facilities:
“In a period of 17 minutes, 18 drones and three low-flying missiles hit the facility with astonishing precision. The ability to conduct a coordinated cruise missile and drone attack that hits its target (except for a few missiles that missed) was an impressive accomplishment. The fact that Iran has this ability came as a surprise to many in the American and Israeli defense establishment. ”
Katz commemorates missile attacks on Israel by Iran-backed militias in Syria this year and the attempted attack with several explosives-laden drones in August. In each of these cases, Katz said, Israel subsequently carried out retaliatory attacks on Iranian targets in Syria. But the question is what will happen if Iran succeeds in a successful attack, similar to that on Saudi Aramco, and there is great destruction or even fatality in Israel. “Then what will Israel do?”
This is currently being discussed intensively in the Israeli military leadership. The possible reactions would all have advantages and disadvantages. For example, Israel could eliminate the terrorist cells that were involved in the attacks. But what, asks Katz, would that say about Israel’s deterrent ability? “If Iran knows that it can use its proxies to attack Israel from other countries without paying a direct price, what will prevent it from continuing?”
That is why other options are being discussed, such as a direct counterattack on targets in Iran, ie “a decisive blow to the regime that would make the clerics understand that they are paying a personal price to attack Israel.” With refueling in the air Katz said Israel’s Air Force is capable of such long-range missions. The jets could either fly directly over Jordan and Iraq, over Saudi Arabia and