The past few days have shown that Israel and Iran are on the brink of a direct military confrontation.
First came the Israeli airstrike in Damascus, which triggered a missile launch towards Israel on Sunday afternoon. On Sunday night and early Monday, Israel retaliated by attacking Iranian targets in Syria.
The Israeli strike that began the latest flare-up, which targeted Iranian assets in Syria, was highly unusual because it was carried out during the day. This suggests that the targets were of high value. Otherwise, Israel would have preferred to attack at night, when the risk of collateral damage and casualties is much lower.
The fact that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was visiting Chad when the attack took place only underscores the importance of those targets and the urgency involved. Just minutes after the strike, Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system intercepted a medium-range missile fired at the Golan Heights. The short interval between the attack and the retaliation suggests that someone was just waiting for an opportunity.