TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — The unprecedented attack by Iran on Israel early Sunday ratcheted up regional tensions, confirming long-held fears about the Israel-Hamas war spiraling into a broader conflagration. But Iran, Israel, the United States and Hamas also walked away with some gains.

May 28 2024

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — The unprecedented attack by Iran on Israel early Sunday ratcheted up regional tensions, confirming long-held fears about the Israel-Hamas war spiraling into a broader conflagration. But Iran, Israel, the United States and Hamas also walked away with some gains.

Iran vowed repeatedly that it would respond to an apparent Israeli strike on an Iranian diplomatic compound in Damascus on April 1 that killed two generals. Sunday’s assault allowed Iran to show to its citizens that it won’t stand by when its assets are attacked and that it was serious when it threatened revenge.

With its strike, Iran was able to exhibit its fierce firepower, instill fear in some Israelis and disrupt the lives of many through school cancellations. But with little damage actually caused in Israel, Iran might hope that any response will be measured. Several hours after it launched the drones and missiles, Iran said the operation was over.

Hamas, which is backed by Iran, welcomed the strike on Israel. Since launching its Oct. 7 attack, Hamas had hoped that regional partners might come to its assistance and drag Israel into a broader war. While some have done — including the Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon and Yemen’s Houthis — Iran had not directly entered the fray until Sunday.

Hamas could hope that the attack is the first salvo in deeper Iranian engagement in the war in Gaza. It also could hope that violence in the West Bank, where an Israeli teen was killed and settlers rampaged in Palestinian towns, continues to heat up. At the very least, Iran’s attack may have emboldened Hamas to dig in its heels in current negotiations over a cease-fire, hoping the increased military pressure on Israel might lead it to accept the militant group’s harder-line terms for a deal.


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