Region of Concern: Israel; Iraq; Iran
Written By Iris Hautaniemi Forsberg; Edited by Jennifer Loy
Date: April 14, 2023
Iranian Drone Exercise in 2022
Event: On April 13, the Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba movement released a video on social media threatening to conduct a drone strike on Israel. The terrorist group is based in Iraq and has support from Iran. The group posted the video on its Telegram channel, which later spread to Twitter and other social media. In the video, footage from clashes between the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and Palestinians in Jerusalem and a narrator says, “Our souls are deeply connected to Jerusalem.” The video also shows footage from the clashes over the Al-Aqsa mosque, which links the threats to Israel with the recent increased tensions over Al-Aqsa. Iran’s influence in neighboring countries has increased during the last months, and several Iranian drones have been shot down in Israel. The threat is made during a time of rising tensions between Israel and its neighboring countries, together with increasing tensions within Israel during the final weekend of Ramadan.
Significance: Israel will very likely be on high alert and make sure that the Israeli defense system, the Iron Dome, is functioning correctly to detect a potential drone flying into its airspace. Iran will very likely continue to supply material and economic support to pro-Iranian groups operating in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine, making it possible for attacks against Israel from several different directions. Iran will likely also focus more on boosting militant groups in Iraq when they scale down their support for the Houthi rebels in Yemen in light of the strengthened relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Terrorist groups in Israel and Palestine will likely take advantage of the increased threats from neighboring countries to execute attacks on citizens within Israel. An increase in aerial attacks will also likely weaken the IDF’s retaliation capabilities against terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Increased presence from the IDF in Palestinian areas during Ramadan will likely lead to clashes with Palestinians, increasing the risk of aerial attacks from Islamist groups outside of Israel as a retaliation.
Recommendations: Israel should immediately deploy all warning systems and ensure all defense equipment is charged and prepared to foil potential attacks, both aerial and attacks on the ground. Mossad and the IDF should cooperate with the US intelligence services and other allies to uncover the plotting of terrorist attacks. Aviation companies should avoid flying in Israeli airspace to prevent the risk of being accidentally hit by airstrikes. Civilians in Israel should be extra cautious this upcoming weekend and avoid crowded areas, such as central squares, food markets, and other areas that many people visit. Civilians in Israel should also have charged cell phones and download the app “RedAlert” where warnings about aerial attacks get published. The IDF should refrain from targeting places of worship during the final days of Ramadan and monitor movement and potential attacks from Jewish settlers. Through the United Nations Security Council, the US and the international community should advocate for peaceful solutions and diplomacy to prevent increased violence. The United Nations Security Council should also engage in talks with Iran to discuss the increased influence over military groups and call for de-escalation.
 “Iranian drone exercise in 2022 - Day 2 (07)” by Saeed Sajjadi licensed under CC BY 4.0
 Pro-Iran Nujaba militia in Iraq threatens Israel with drones, The Jerusalem Post, April 2023, https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/article-739206
 Israeli security forces brace for clashes, terror on last Friday of Ramadan, The Jerusalem Post, April 2023, https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/article-739212