From the Terror of the World to the Sick Man of Asia

Hamas conducted a large-scale rocket attack from southern Lebanon into Israel on April 6 possibly as part of the larger pattern of escalation between Iran and Israel occurring throughout 2023.

Palestine is an Arab country located in Asia on the eastern Mediterranean coast, which is known also as the Levant. It is bordered by Jordan to the east, Lebanon to the north, and the Red Sea and Sinai, Egypt to the south. In the west, the Mediterranean Sea acts as a bridge connecting Africa, Asia, and Europe.

APRIL 6, 2023

Hamas and other unidentified Palestinian militants launched at least 34 rockets into northern Israel, with four landing in Israeli territory and injuring at least three people.[1]

 Israeli forces intercepted around 25 rockets, and several more fell short of the border. Hamas launched an additional two rockets into Israel several hours later.

Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem framed the attacks as retaliation for Israeli raids and mass arrests inside the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on April 4-5.[2]

 Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants launched as many as 15 rockets from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on April 5 in response to the raids, as CTP previously reported.[3]

Lebanese Hezbollah (LH) likely had advance knowledge of the attacks and may have even greenlighted it.
Hamas Political Bureau Chairman Ismail Haniyeh traveled to Lebanon on April 5, as CTP previously reported, visiting Beirut and southern Lebanon.
[4] Haniyeh reportedly met with senior LH officials, such Hassan Nasrallah, and Hamas militants during the visits, possibly to discuss and prepare for the attacks.[5]

 The fact that Hamas was able to conduct a second rocket attack several hours after the first one without LH intervening to prevent it further indicates that LH may have been complicit in the operation. Iranian leaders would have been presumably aware of the planned attacks as well if Hamas did, in fact, coordinate with Nasrallah.

Iran and LH may have encouraged or tacitly approved the rocket attacks in retaliation for a series of Israeli airstrikes in Syria in recent weeks.

Israel conducted airstrikes around Damascus on March 30, killing two IRGC officers.[6]

Iranian leaders have acknowledged that Israel killed these officers and have vowed publicly in recent days to retaliate, as CTP previously reported.[7]

Iranian leaders could portray the attacks as at least part of their retaliation regardless of whether they had any meaningful role in the planning and execution of the operation.

If Iran and LH were, in fact, involved in the attack, it signifies them expanding the geographic scope of their escalation pattern with Israel.

The ongoing cycle of violence between Tehran and Tel Aviv has occurred primarily in Syria throughout 2023 thus far.

Tehran may be expanding the geographic scope of the conflict to deter further Israeli action against Iranian interests in Syria.

Involving Lebanon and Palestine in the escalation cycle threatens Israel with spreading the conflict further to involve additional crises.

Conducting the rocket attacks from Lebanon has the added effect of raising the cost of certain Israeli responses given that retaliatory airstrikes into Lebanon would risk triggering an intensifying conflict with Lebanese Hezbollah and the Palestinian militant groups.