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Israel had no time to enjoy the successful election and Benjamin Netanyahu’s slim victory when Iran reportedly reminded Israel of itself.
On March 25th, while sailing from Tanzania to India, the Israeli-flagged ship “Lori” was allegedly struck by missiles in the Gulf of Oman.
Tehran was immediately accused, and the strike only caused material losses, but no casualties. Photographs of the damaged hull of the ship were shared on Twitter, but little else in the way of evidence.
This alleged incident is the third in a presumed exchange.It began on February 26th, when the Israeli-flagged MV HELIOS RAY suffered a number of explosions, in the Gulf of Oman. It was blamed on Iran.
Then, on March 11th, an explosion struck the Iranian-owned SHAHR E KORD off the coast of Syria. Tehran called it a terrorist attack, but not specifically blaming Tel Aviv.
On Syrian soil, approximately 15 unidentified gunmen attacked posts of the Syrian Arab Army’s 5th Corps and Iranian-backed forces in southern Raqqa, according to the Eye of the Euphrates. They infiltrated the government-controlled area in southern Raqqa with three trucks. The unknown militants abandoned their vehicles and attacked the position near the village of Maksar. At least 9 Syrian and Iranian-backed fighters were killed, and 6 others were captured.
In northern Syria, the situation is becoming increasingly chaotic. Despite a Russian-Turkish agreement to open humanitarian crossings in Idlib, but no such luck.
Ankara immediately denied agreeing to anything of the sort, and even if it didn’t, militants blocked the crossings.
Syrian authorities reopened the Saraqib and Abu Zindain crossings on March 25th. However, both remained blocked by the al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
Turkish Forces in the fashion of how they impose the ceasefire agreement in Greater Idlib undertook no action in assisting the opening of the crossings.
In Iraq, the situation is stacked even more against the U.S. and its allies. On March 25th, five US supply convoys were attacked in different parts of Iraq. Three of the attacks were carried out by pro-Iranian groups, while two are still unclaimed.
These attacks continue to be non-lethal and rather cause only material damage.
These groups, as well as all other Iranian allies are a part of the unofficial Axis of Resistance. Yemen’s Ansar Allah are as well a part of it.
In recent days, the Houthis (as Ansar Allah is more commonly known) were accused by Saudi Arabia of being cowards.
While that accusation was sinking in, Riyadh’s forces targeted al-Hudaydah with heavy artillery.
This is explicitly prohibited under a ceasefire agreement, and still violations take place almost hourly. The Saudi-led coalition continues its heavy airstrike activity, and is being steadily pushed back on the ground by the Houthis.
More retaliatory actions are likely expected by Israel, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia in the coming days and weeks, since the Iranian-aligned bloc seems to be making progress.