#ISRAELHAMASWAR. Iran attacks American and Turkish interests in Syria and Iraq. Israel attacks southern Lebanon. Clashes in southern Gaza. Houthis attack a Maltese ship

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January 15, 2024 will go down in history as the night of the missiles launched from Iran’s Kuzestan region towards Syria and Iraq. Iranian Revolutionary Guard Missile Force Commander General Haji Zadeh said: “4 Kheibar missiles were launched from southern Iran towards ISIS positions in Idlib, and 11 precision ballistic missiles were launched from western Iran towards objectives in Iraqi Kurdistan”. In the flow of information passed in the social sphere, we learn that the Iranian Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, shortly before the attacks in a phone call to his counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, had warned him of an escalation of tension in the Red Sea.

In Syria the target was the TIP, the Turkmen Islamic party, which is in Idlib: Iranian missiles hit the headquarters of the militants of the Turkestan Islamic Party, classified as terrorists, in the Jabal al-Summaq area and near the town of Harem. Although local sources report an attack with Iranian ballistic missiles against the areas controlled by the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham militants also in Idlib. In Iraq, Iran targeted 8 sites near the American consulate in Erbil. Two American officials told Reuters on the 15th at 11.30pm: “No American facilities were targeted by missiles in Erbil in Iraq, and there were no American casualties.”

Iran claims to have targeted the Mossad headquarters in Erbil. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said: “Targeting the Mossad headquarters is a response to Israel’s assassination of Revolutionary Guard leaders and others.” According to Iran, “the center for the development of espionage operations and the planning of terrorist operations against Iran” was hit.

What is certainly known is that the Iraqi businessman Peshraw Dizayee and his daughter Zhina died. His wife and two other children are injured and in hospital. Dizayee completed the Empire World construction project in Erbil, as highlighted by the President of the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), Nechirvan Barzani.

Through his company Falcon Group, the Iraqi entrepreneur operated in several sectors, including construction, oil, natural gas, technology, agriculture, cosmetics and security. Dizayee’s name was also associated with the Development Road Project, which sought to connect Iraq to Europe via Turkey. It was reported that the businessman aspired to play a role in the Iraqi segment of this major project. Perhaps a signal from the Iranian missiles, as well as for the United States, is for Ankara, accused together with the USA of training terrorists in Afghanistan and bringing them to Iran for attacks under the flag of ISIS.

Houthi attacks on the Red Sea also continue. An official message from the US Army Central Command reads: “On January 15, at approximately 4:00 pm local time, Iran-backed Houthi militants launched an anti-ship ballistic missile from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and struck the US-owned and operated Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier Gibraltar Eagle. No injuries or serious damage have been reported on the vessel and the vessel continues its navigation.”

On January 16th there were two reports of Houthi attacks against ships transiting the Red Sea: one flying the Panamanian flag, a second flying the Malta flag. Mohammed al-Buhaiti, a member of the Houthi Politburo said: “The Yemeni armed forces are improving their missile capabilities and surprises await us soon.” An official statement from the Houthis reiterates this. “The Yemeni Armed Forces confirm the continuation of commercial movement in Arab Bahrain and the Red Sea to all destinations except ports in occupied Palestine and that they continue to adopt all defensive and offensive measures in the right to defend and counter American aggression- British”. However, according to Ansarallah, attacks on ships flying the British and US flags become legitimate.

And now a look at the Gaza and Lebanon front on January 16, updated at 5pm. 

Tensions within the government continue in Israel. Israeli media on January 16 accused the government of having withdrawn troops from northern Gaza where the rockets that hit Netivot and its surroundings in the western Negev were fired. Army Radio says: “Rockets were fired at the Netivot settlement from an area from which the army withdrew yesterday.” Soroka Hospital in the Negev said: “During January 15, we received 15 Israeli soldiers following the battles in Gaza.”

On January 15th there were clashes on the border with Egypt. An Israeli soldier was injured when around 20 drug traffickers tried to cross the border. There are several victims in the border area near Nitzana. Israeli Apaches participate in bombing militants inside the Egyptian border.

On January 16th Israeli bombings in southern Lebanon. An IDF note reads: “We targeted a launch platform for Hezbollah anti-tank missiles in the city of Kafr Kila.” According to Hezbollah media, the city was attacked with phosphorus munitions. And again the media in southern Lebanon report that: “Israeli artillery targets the city of Mays al-Jabal.” Also hit by Israeli artillery was the outskirts of the city of Hula. Also on the afternoon of the 16th, the IDF launched around 30 rockets in Wadi Al-Hujair in southern Lebanon.

If in northern Gaza there are clashes in the streets but the army has withdrawn, clashes were also recorded on 16 January in Khan Yunis, in the south of the Gaza strip. The Israelis advance to Ein Nafaq east of Khan Yunis.

Tensions in the West Bank are escalating: the restoration of unity in the Gaza Strip Musta’rab “Dovdovan” indicates a possible loss of control over the situation in the West Bank, Israeli media say. 

Antonio Albanese e Graziella Giangiulio

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