Top 10 ways Iran has claimed attack on Israel, MidEast region - IRGC

From calling out vulnerability in Israel's maritime trade to claiming Mossad operatives were killed in Iraq, IRGC general lists Iran's operations and threats to Israel and the region in an interview.

A drone is launched during a large-scale drone combat exercise of Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in Semnan, Iran January 6, 2021 (photo credit: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA/REUTERS)
A drone is launched during a large-scale drone combat exercise of Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in Semnan, Iran January 6, 2021
Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps head Maj.-Gen. Hossein Salami provided a long list of Iran’s operations and apparent threats to Israel and the region in an interview on Wednesday. His claims reveal the depth of Iran’s strategy in the region.
These are the top 10 claims he made:

Israel’s maritime trade is vulnerable

Salami said that 90% of Israel’s trade travels by sea. He says that it goes through “international waters” and that Israel is vulnerable to “maritime incidents.” This is apparently a reference to at least three attacks on Israeli ships in the last several months. He warned that Israel can suffer “obstruction” if it is threatened by sea. In the 1950s, there were similar attempts to cut off Israel’s sea routes by Egypt.
In recent years, Israel has increased its capabilities at sea, including two new corvettes of the Sa’ar 6 class, one of which arrived last year and the second of which was handed over to the Israeli Navy in Germany this week.  
US media reports and Iran have accused Israel of a dozen attacks on Iranian ships and on an IRGC “mother ship” in the Red Sea.

An Israeli missile factory blew up

The IRGC chief claimed that an Israeli missile factory suffered a massive explosion. He is referring to an April 20 incident where an explosion was seen in central Israel. Iran said that a “sensitive” Israeli missile factory was affected. Later reports said that it was a controlled test of a solid fuel-rocket engine, according to a US expert.

Mossad operatives killed in Iraq

The IRGC leader claimed that several “Mossad operatives” had been killed in northern Iraq. Salami’s comments went further than Iranian media has gone in the past, claiming that “spies” were killed in Erbil, Iraq, the capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government. This relates to an April 14 report about an alleged attack on “Mossad in Iraq,” which appeared on Iran’s Press TV; the claims by Salami appear to indicate this.

Cyberattacks on 80 Israeli companies

Iran claims that numerous Israeli companies have been hit with cyberattacks. The number Salami specifies is at least 80 companies. There have been a growing number of cyberattacks reported in Israel. Globes reported the growing number in January. A report said H&M was also targeted. In April 2020, there were also incidents.

A fire at an oil refinery in Haifa

A fire in Haifa was also mentioned by Iran. Iranian media had reported earlier this week a “huge fire” at a refinery in Haifa. A pipe malfunction had led to a fire at a petrochemical plant and the Bazan refinery in Haifa, according to reports. Part of a petrochemical plant was also demolished in February. Iran appears to be taking credit for these incidents.

An “explosion” near Ben-Gurion Airport

A fire that broke out near Ben-Gurion Airport on May 2 was also mentioned by the IRGC head. This was reported as having happened at Moshav Zeitan, south of the airport. Salami claims that in fact, this was a nefarious incident, or at least implies it was since he includes it in the list of incidents.

Syrian missile near Dimona shows Israel's “tactical” weakness

Salami said that Israel is a narrow strip of land and this means it can be harmed with just one “blow.” He pointed to this as a weakness, noting that any tactical defeat for Israel is a major strategic defeat because the country has no strategic depth. Tasnim media quoted him as referring to a Syrian S-200 missile that “struck near Dimona” on April 21, which he said Israel was unable to intercept.

Drone threats to Israel

The IRGC head warned of drone threats to the Jewish state. He said that the modern battlefield now includes UAVs that have increased the offensive power of Iran. “UAVs are not just reconnaissance elements, but are now like a missile.” He said that Iranian drones now have a longer range and better accuracy. Tehran has used them extensively to aid the Houthis in Yemen carry out drone attacks on Saudi Arabia. Iran also used them against Saudi Arabia in September 2019, and used one against Israel in February 2018 from Syrian territory.

Iran increases attacks on US in Iraq

“The Americans are under political pressure on public opinion and under pressure from Iraqis… [Iraqi groups] are trying to expel the United States from the region in any way possible,” Salami said, referring to Kataib Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed militia in Iraq, and other popular mobilization units (PMUs) units that fire rockets at US facilities in Iraq. Three attacks occurred this week, and Salami says that the “resistance” is active in Iraq. This is a reference to increased attacks on the US.

Saudi Arabia under threat

“The balance of power is clearly changing in favor of Yemen, and the Saudis have been hit very hard. None of the Saudi air defense and missile systems – which are all American – are capable,” he said, adding that they can’t prevent the Houthi’s drone operations. The comments against Saudi Arabia were part of a wider claim that the US is leaving the region; Iran senses this to mean that US partners and allies are weaker.