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On January 1, two missiles were launched in the direction of Tel Aviv from the Gaza Strip. The missiles exploded in the sea near the beach of Palmachim and Tal Aviv.

Israeli media and the terrorist groups in Gaza said that this latest act of aggression against Israel was connected to a Palestinian Arab terrorist in an Israeli jail who was on a hunger strike.

However, the attempt to bomb Tel Aviv should be regarded as part of the war of attrition that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) are waging against Israel on behalf of Iran.

This war of attrition has three fronts now as became again clear this week when the Israeli military downed an unmanned aerial vehicle on the Lebanese border that belonged to Hezbollah.

At about the same time the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had to act against a group of Hezbollah operatives who attempted to cross the Israeli border on the Golan Heights.

As we will see below, Iran is stepping up its belligerent activities in the Middle East, and this could be related to the resumed negotiations about a new nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and six world powers in Vienna.

These negotiations, however, are once again solely focusing on Iran’s nuclear activities and not on its belligerent activities across the Middle East.

First, the rocket attack on Tel Aviv was part of the Iranian plan to exhaust Israel via Hamas and PIJ, the Iranian proxies in Gaza.

The excuse that the attack was related to a Palestinian Arab terrorist on hunger strike in an Israeli jail was only the fig leaf for the renewed violence.

The fanatical regime of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi gives Hamas and PIJ all the necessary support to continue the war of attrition against Israel.

This is something that previously has been confirmed by various Hamas and PIJ leaders.

Iran is also helping the two terrorist groups to make military progress and has developed a strategy that Hamas and PIJ have been pursuing for some time now.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh openly acknowledged this in an interview with the Qatar-based TV broadcaster Al-Jazeera last week.

Haniyeh said Hamas had received $70 million from Iran to change the Palestinian strategy after its first war with Israel in 2008/2009.

Haniyeh also claimed that as a result of this changed strategy, Israel had been “completely paralyzed” by the rocket salvos fired from Gaza during the 11-day war in May last year.

According to Haniyeh, the Israeli defense systems against the rockets from Gaza had not offered the desired protection to the civil population.

Iran had also helped terror movements in Gaza develop better missiles, Haniyeh said, adding that Hamas and PIJ had restored deterrence in the battle against the Israeli army.

Hamas and PIJ commanders have started to cooperate intensively recently and regularly conduct large-scale military exercises modeled on those of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRCG) in Iran.

Iran is also very active in the field of cyber attacks on Israel.

After shutting down websites of Israeli government agencies two weeks ago, another Iranian cyberattack was reported last weekend on the English-language Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post and its subsidiary Ma’ariv.

The home pages of JPost and Ma’ariv disappeared and were replaced with images of an exploding nuclear reactor in the Israeli city of Dimona.

A hand, supposedly belonging to Qassem Soleimani, the assassinated commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force, was seen firing a bullet at Dimona.

The image had a banner in broken English and Hebrew saying, “we are close to you, why don’t you think of that?”

The Jerusalem Post later confirmed that it was an Iranian cyber-attack and wrote that the attack also targeted the State of Israel.

Iran commemorates Qassem Soleimani’s assassination

Earlier this week Iran commemorated in its well-known fashion the assassination of Soleimani, who was killed on January 3, 2020, by an American killer drone near Baghdad, Iraq.

First, Iranian-made missiles were fired at US military bases last Monday.

At the same time, military personnel in Iraq shot down unmanned kamikaze aircraft near Baghdad airport in Iraq. The text “Soleimani’s revenge” was painted on one of the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

UAV attacks continued on Tuesday when drones loaded with explosive materials were shot down near the large Ayn al-Assad base near Baghdad. The base is home to a large US Army contingent.

Later the military base at Baghdad International Airport was again targeted by killer drones, In this case as well, the Iraqi military assisted by US soldiers downed the UAVs.

Also on Monday, a ship coming from the United Arab Emirates was hijacked by the Iranian-backed Ansar Allah or Houthi militia near the port city of Hodeida in Yemen.

Ansar Allah claimed that Saudi Arabia was using the ship to smuggle weapons into Yemen, something the Kingdom vehemently denied.

The hijacking of the ship was later also associated with the commemoration of Soleimani’s death.

Hezbollah and Iran in Syria

In Syria, Iran also remains very active, renovating old Syrian army and air bases together with its ally Hezbollah.

Iran has also stepped up its troop build-up near Damascus and plans to transfer the so-called T-4 airbase near the city of Homs to a renovated Syrian airbase near Damascus.

This is probably done to complicate Israeli airstrikes on the bases because the Russian army is responsible for the aerial security of Damascus.

The Israel Air Force (IAF) has repeatedly bombed this area around the Syrian capital in order to prevent the Iranian troop build-up and to frustrate sophisticated arms supplies from Iran destined for Hezbollah.

The IAF last week used missiles fired from the Mediterranean by Israeli warplanes during yet another attack on Iranian assets in Syria.

The missiles destroyed a number of containers with advanced weapons delivered by an Iranian ship to the western Syrian port city of Latakia.

The Israeli military also had to act against Iran’s Lebanese proxy Hezbollah twice this week after the terror group sent a UAV into Israeli airspace and when a group of Hezbollah terrorists tried to cross the Israeli border on the northern part of the Golan Heights.

Hebrew as a psychological weapon

Media and the regime in Iran are also increasingly using the Hebrew language to threaten Israel.

Threats to launch an attack on Dimona were published in Hebrew on websites affiliated with the regime.

This week, the Khamenei-affiliated news site Tasnim opened a new page in the Hebrew language.

The page clearly aims to influence public opinion in Israel and to increase the psychological pressure on the Jewish state.

Israel warns neighbors about Iran

Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz last week warned Arab countries near Iran not to allow their territory to be used to transport weapons to its proxies that threaten Israel.

Israel will continue to block the transport of weapons that will change the rules of the game,” Gantz warned.

“Iran is the greatest enemy to my nation and to the people of the Middle East,” Gantz added.

Iran’s bellicose activities are not on the agenda in Vienna.

It remains unclear whether Iran’s belligerent activities will be discussed at all during negotiations with the Islamic Republic in Vienna.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Tuesday that “modest progress” had been made in negotiations with Iran.

However, Price also made it clear that there is only talk of a mutual return to the original 2015 nuclear deal, the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

For the Israeli government, however, a return to the original JCPOA is unacceptable.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced on Tuesday that only minor progress will be made in Vienna and there won’t be the breakthrough Israel needs.

No place for Zionism in the world

Lapid later became embroiled in a Twitter war of sorts with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian, who wrote that “there is no place for Zionism in the future of the world.”

In his response, Lapid said that the regime in Tehran will eventually lose the battle with Israel and disappear.

The Israeli military, meanwhile, continues to prepare for military action against Iran and has finally reached an agreement with the Americans on the early delivery of two Boeing K-64 tanker planes needed for an airstrike on Iran.

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