Scene of attack at Iranian consulate in Damascus
Scene of attack at Iranian consulate in DamascusReuters

Two Iranian officials told The New York Times on Friday that Iran had placed all its armed forces on full high alert and a decision had been made that Iran must respond directly to the strike attributed to Israel in Damascus, in order to create deterrence.

Iran has until now taken care to avoid a direct conflict with Israel that could lead to full-fledged war, with only its proxies – Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis in Yemen – having launched direct attacks on Israel.

US officials in Washington and the Middle East said on Friday that they were bracing for possible Iranian retaliatory strikes for the strike in Damascus, in which senior commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards were eliminated.

US military forces in the region have been placed on heightened alert. Israel has also placed its military on high alert, according to an Israeli official, canceled leave for combat units, recalled some reservists to air defense units and blocked GPS signals.

A senior administration official told CNN that the US is on high alert and actively preparing for a “significant” attack that could come as soon as within the next week by Iran targeting Israeli or American assets in the region.

Senior US officials currently believe that an attack by Iran is “inevitable” – a view shared by their Israeli counterparts, that official said. The two governments are furiously working to get in position ahead of what is to come, according to CNN.

Meanwhile, CBS News reported on Friday that the US has picked up intelligence on what an Iranian retaliatory strike might look like.

According to the report, the American intelligence indicates that Iran is planning a retaliatory attack that would include a swarm of Shaheed loitering drones and cruise missiles.

Officials quoted in the report say the timing and target are unknown, but a proportional response to the Damascus attack would be to hit an Israeli diplomatic facility.

Iran’s deputy UN ambassador Zahra Ershadi on Tuesday vowed that Iran would respond to the strike. Ershadi accused Israel of threatening regional and international peace and declared that “the United States is responsible for all crimes committed by the Israeli regime.”

A day later, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a threat to Israel and said it would “be slapped” for the strike.

On Friday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned that an Iranian retaliation for the air strike attributed to Israel is “definitely coming”.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)