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Israel cancels leave for combat units after Iran consulate strike

According to reports, the Israeli army has decided to halt the leave of its combat units on Thursday due to the ongoing Gaza conflict and escalating tensions with Iran following an attack on Tehran's consulate in Damascus. The media also revealed that additional reservists are being summoned in response to perceived threats from Iran.

Published April 04,2024

The Israeli army has suspended leave for its combat units, it said Thursday, amid the Gaza war and as tensions with Iran grew after a strike on Tehran's consulate in Damascus.

Israeli media reported that the military was also calling up more reservist soldiers "against the background of the visible threats from Iran".

"Leave will be temporarily paused for all combat units," the army said in a statement on Telegram.

The Israeli military also said that, after a "situational assessment, it was decided to increase manpower and draft reserve soldiers to the IDF Aerial Defense Array".

As Israel has fought in Gaza since the Hamas attack of October 7, it has also stepped up strikes against Iranian targets and Tehran's allies in Syria and Lebanon.

Israel has traded near-daily fire with Iran-backed Hezbollah fighters positioned along the Lebanese border since Hamas carried out its unprecedented attack.

Tensions have been further inflamed by Monday's strike against the Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital in which 16 people were killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Among the dead were seven Iranian members of the Revolutionary Guards, including two generals.

The war monitor said the dead including eight Iranians, five Syrian fighters and one from Lebanon's Hezbollah, as well as two civilians.

Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed in a social media message that "with God's help we will make the Zionists repent of their crime of aggression against the Iranian consulate in Damascus".

The mounting regional violence means it is "unlikely a war in the north can be avoided", Emmanuel Navon, a political science professor at Tel Aviv University told AFP.

The Gaza war began with Hamas's October 7 attack, which resulted in the deaths of about 1,170 Israelis and foreigners, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Palestinian fighters also took more than 250 hostages, and 130 remain in Gaza, including 34 who the army says are dead.

Israel's retaliatory campaign has killed at least 33,037 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.