Hamas Cheers Iran’s Missile Barrage, Raising Fears of Wider Mideast War

HomeWARHamas Cheers Iran's Missile Barrage, Raising Fears of Wider Mideast War

In a defiant show of solidarity, the Palestinian militant group Hamas threw its weight behind Iran’s brazen missile and drone offensive on Israeli territory – a blistering counterattack that shattered the region’s tense calm and stoked fears of an all-out war.

As Israeli air defense systemslit up the night sky intercepting an Iranian bombardment of over 300 projectiles, Hamas applauded what it dubbed Iran’s “natural right” to pummel the “Zionist entity” with maximum firepower. The blistering statement landed like a rhetorical Molotov cocktail amid the chaotic weekend fusillade.

“The military operation carried out by Iran against the Zionist entity is a natural right and a due response to the crime of targeting the consulate in Damascus,” decreed the Gaza-based Islamist group which has governed the Palestinian coastal strip with an iron fist since 2007.

Tehran’s Revenge for Israeli Strike in Syria

The Iranian missile deluge represented a dramatic escalation in the long-simmering shadow war between the Islamic Republic and Israel. It came just weeks after Israel allegedly struck Iran’s consulate in the Syrian capital Damascus, killing over a dozen people including two high-ranking Revolutionary Guard commanders.

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While stopping short of claiming responsibility, Israel has routinely targeted Iranian interests in Syria as part of its campaign to block Tehran’s expansionism and arms smuggling to allied militant groups like Hezbollah. But Iran’s retaliation – dubbed Operation True Promise – shattered years of reticence by directly pummeling Israeli cities and military bases.

According to the Israeli military, the barrage included cruise and ballistic missiles alongside explosive drones fired by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards. While interceptors reportedly destroyed around 99% of the incoming projectiles mid-air, some still managed to penetrate Israeli airspace and detonate.

“The Zionist regime will have to endure more operations like True Promise if it makes another mistake,” warned the Iranian delegation to the United Nations, deeming the excessive bombardment sufficient retribution for now but promising a “considerably more severe” response to any future Israeli provocations.

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Fears of Wider Mideast Conflagration

The audacious cross-border exchange immediately fanned concerns over a regionwide escalation at an exceptionally volatile moment. Intense fighting has raged for months between Israel and Hamas, whose unprecedented October rocket barrages on Israeli cities sparked a punishing Israeli military onslaught in Gaza that has killed over 33,000 Palestinians to date.

The spiraling bloodshed has spilled over into Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq, with Iranian proxies launching projectile attacks on Israel amid Hamas’ bombardment from Gaza. Now with Iran directly entering the fray, stakeholders fear the parallel conflicts could catastrophically converge into an all-out regional conflagration.

“I am deeply alarmed by the very real danger of a devastating wider escalation across the region,” intoned UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, calling urgently for restraint from all sides. Britain deemed the crisis “gravely concerning” while France criticized Tehran’s actions as irresponsibly fanning the flames.

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The United States forcefully backed its Israeli ally, with President Biden vowing an “ironclad” American commitment and pledging joint reprisals with partners over Iran’s “unacceptable” assault. Regional powers Egypt and Saudi Arabia also advocated de-escalation.

No Wider War…Yet

For now, an uneasy calm seems to have settled after the weekend pyrotechnics. Both sides have signaled they hope to avoid a wider confrontation, at least for the time being.

Yet with a cascade of unresolved conflicts now combustibly intermingling – from Gaza to Syria to Yemen – any new provocation could potentially ignite a regionwide inferno. Hardline factions will be closely scrutinizing each side’s next moves for any perceived redline violation.

In the meantime, the acrid smoke still hangs heavy over the tinderbox Mideast landscape. One thing is clear: the status quo has shifted dramatically with Iran’s daring projection of power onto Israeli soil. A new, more perilous chapter appears to be unfolding.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a seasoned basketball journalist with a passion for the WNBA and NBA. His insightful writing combines commentary and stats, providing comprehensive coverage. Alee sheds light on the overlooked WNBA while championing its players. He also delivers in-depth NBA analysis, offering unique perspectives on trades, drafts, and league dynamics. With exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes access, Alee gives readers an unparalleled look into the lives of basketball's biggest stars.

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