The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are preparing for a possible US attack on Iran before President Donald Trump leaves office, viewing his lame-duck period as a “very sensitive” time, according to several recent reports.
The Israeli government has instructed the IDF to draw up plans in the event Trump orders a preemptive strike on the Islamic Republic, which could potentially target the country’s nuclear infrastructure, journalist Barak Ravid reported in Axios on Wednesday, citing anonymous senior officials in Tel Aviv.
The preparations are linked not only to the possible strike itself, but to the retaliation it might provoke from Iran, which could look to respond using proxy fighters deployed across Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, the officials told Ravid. However, the journalist noted that the plans were not the result of any specific intelligence indicating such a strike had been ordered, with the officials simply anticipating a “very sensitive period” before the inauguration of presumptive president-elect Joe Biden on January 20.
The report comes just days after Israel’s Channel 13 similarly stated that both Washington and Tel Aviv plan to step up“covert operations” against Tehran in the final days of Trump’s term, though the broadcaster offered no details on what shape that could take. The New York Times, meanwhile, reported earlier this month that Trump had recently “sought options” for a strike on Iran’s nuclear capabilities – which it said would “almost certainly be focused on Natanz,” the country’s primary uranium enrichment site. But the president was reportedly “dissuaded” from an attack by advisers, who warned it might kick off a bloody regional conflict. It is unclear if they have returned to the idea since.
Nonetheless, Iranian officials reacted to the Times report vowing a “crushing response” to any US strike.