Gaza: flashpoint for regional war? (redux)

The Iraqi government condemned air-strikes by the US military on its territory as "hostile acts" after the Pentagon said it hit sites used by Iran-backed forces. The strikes killed one member of the Iraqi security forces and wounded 18 people, including civilians, Baghdad said Dec. 26, calling the raids an "unacceptable attack on Iraqi sovereignty." Washington said the strikes targeted three sites used by Kataib Hezbollah, part of the network of Shi'ite militias in Iraq, in retaliation for a drone attack the day before on Erbil airbase that wounded three US service members, one of them critically,. (Al Jazeera)

One day earlier, a senior commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps was killed in a presumed Israeli air-strike in Syria. Seyyed Razi Mousavi was was slain in an strike on the Sayyida Zeinab area southeast of Damascus. Israel has carried out intermittent air-strikes in Syria for years, generally targeting Iranian-aligned forces, but the pace has picked up significantly since Oct. 7. (BBC News)

Israel meanwhile continues to trade cross-border fire with Lebanon's Hezbollah. Air-strikes on southern Lebanon were carried out Dec. 27 after Hezbollah rockets struck the largely evacuated northern Israel town of Kiryat Shmona. Senior Israeli minister Benny Gantz said: "The situation on Israel's northern border demands change. The stopwatch for a diplomatic solution is running out; if the world and the Lebanese government don't act in order to prevent the firing on Israel's northern residents, and to distance Hezbollah from the border, the [Israeli military] will do it." (Al Jazeera, ToI)

Amid all this, Yemen's Houthi armed movement claimed responsibility for drone attacks targeting the Israeli port city of Eilat and "other areas in occupied Palestine." The Houthis are aso continuing to launch missiles on shipping vessels in the Red Sea. (Al Jazeera)

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that Israel is now fighting on "seven fronts"—Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Yemen. (PRI)

Hamas deputy leader killed in Beirut drone strike

Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri, wanted for years by Israel, was killed Jan. 2 in a presumed Israeli drone strike in the Beirut suburb of Dahiyeh Hamas. (ToI, NPR)

Double bombing in Iran kills 100

A double bombing in Iran killed some 100 people and wounded more than 200, the deadliest attack since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Crowds had gathered in the city of Kerman to honor Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Qassem Soleimani who died in a US drone strike in Iraq exactly four years ago. Iranian TV captured panic on the cemetery's main road as the blasts erupted 20 minutes apart. The country's supreme leader vowed a harsh response without naming suspects. US officials disavowed any involvement. (PBS NewsHour, Al Jazeera)

Iran executes four with alleged links to Israel intelligence

Iran executed four individuals on Dec. 29, including a woman, over allegations that the four were involved in sabotage operations in connection with Israel's Mossad intelligence agency. (Jurist)

ISIS claims responsibility for deadly bombings in Iran

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the bombing attack that killed 84 people in Kerman, Iran, during a memorial procession for Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, according to a post on the extremist group's official Telegram account.

The group called the attack a "dual martyrdom operation," and described how two militants approached a ceremony at the tomb of Gen. Suleimani and detonated explosive belts strapped to their bodies "near the grave of the hypocrite leader." (NYT)

US airstrike kills militia leader in Iraq

The US conducted a drone strike in Baghdad Jan. 4 that killed Mushtaq Jawad Kazim al-Jawari, AKA Abu Taqwa, leader of the Harakat-al-Nujaba militia. (ASF)

Iraq government seeks to end US-led coalition presence

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani announced plans Jan. 5 to form a committee tasked with preparing for the end of the US-led international coalition's mission in the country. Al-Sudani announced the plans in a speech while his office issued a summary post on X, stating, "We affirm our firm and principled position in ending the existence of the international coalition after the justifications for its existence have ended." (Jurist)

Hezbollah commander killed in apparent Israeli strike

Hezbollah said Jan. 8 that a top commander was killed in a strike in southern Lebanon. Wissam al-Tawil, a commander of the terror group’s elite Radwan force, was killed in the Lebanese town of Majdal Selm, when a missile hit the SUV he was in. 

The killing came as Benjamin Netanyahu visited troops near the border with Lebanon and vowed that Israel "will do everything to restore security to the north." (NYT, ToI)

US and UK launch air-strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen

The United States and United Kingdom launched air-strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen Jan. 11, following a spate of attacks on shipping vessels in the Red Sea. Explosions were reported in several cities across the war-ravaged country, including the capital Sanaa, the western port of Hodeidah, the Houthi stronghold of Saada and the southwestern city of Dhamar. Five Houthi fighters were reported killed in the strikes. (MEE, AA)

Mass protests in Yemen after US-British attacks

Tens of thousands of Yemenis gathered in several cities to hear Houthi leaders condemn US and British strikes on their country. "Your strikes on Yemen are terrorism," said Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, a member of the Houthi Supreme Political Council, referring to the US. "The United States is the Devil." (Reuters)

Iran arrests 35 in connection with attacks in Kerman

Iran's Ministry of Intelligence released a statement announcing the arrest of 35 “suicide terrorist operatives” in connection with January 3 attacks in Kerman, a city in south-central Iran that reportedly killed at least 103 and injured more than 100 people. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have taken responsibility for the attack. (Jurist)

US, UK defend strikes on Houthis at UN Security Council

The US and UK defended the legality of their strikes launched in Yemen against Houthi rebels at the UN Security Council's Jan. 12 meeting. The air-strikes are being conducted by an coalition led by the United States and supported by Britain, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands. During the Security Council meeting, the United States vehemently defended the strikes, citing Security Council resolution 2722 (2024), which demands an end to Houthi attacks on commercial vessel in the Red Sea. (Jurist)

US Navy seizes missile parts allegedly destined for Houthis

US Navy SEALs boarded a vessel and seized Iranian-manufactured missile components believed to be destined for Houthi rebel forces in Yemen during a "flag verification" mission in the Arabian Sea near the coast of Somalia, Central Command (CENTCOM) announced Jan. 16, claiming the components were being transported in violation of a UN arms embargo. 

The operation, supported by helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), led to the confiscation of advanced weaponry, including parts for medium-range ballistic missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles.

The ship's crew, consisting of 14 members, was detained, and the vessel, deemed unsafe, was sunk by US Navy forces. CENTCOM said that the disposition of the crew "is being determined by international law." Two SEALs involved in the mission were reported missing at sea. A search operation is underway. (Jurist)

US launches new strikes on Houthi targets

The US launched fresh air-strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen Jan. 16, and the Iran-aligned group claimed responsibility for a missile attack on another cargo ship in the Red Sea. The US said the strikes targeted four anti-ship ballistic missiles that the Houthis were preparing to launch at commercial vessels in the Red Sea. (MEE)

US designates Houthis as 'terrorist' group

The Biden administration moved Jan. 17 to designate the Houthi rebels, or Ansar Allah, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) group. The administration stopped short of adding Ansar Allah to the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list, which would have made it illegal for any person within US jurisdiction to provide "material support or resources" to the group, with grim implications for aid to Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen. (Jurist)

US strikes Houthi missile sites again

The US launched new strikes against Houthi anti-ship missile sites Jan. 18, deeming them "an imminent threat" to shipping in the Red Sea. (Reuters)

Iran Revolutionary Guard officials killed in Syria strike

Five senior members of Iran's security forces have been killed in an air-strike on the Syrian capital. Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard blamed Israel for the attack, which it said killed its military advisers as well as a number of Syrian forces. (BBC News)

US, UK strike Houthi missile sites again

The US and UK carried out additional strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen on Jan. 22, marking the eighth round of attacks by the US military on the rebels’ infrastructure in just over 10 days, according to a joint statement.

The US used fighter jets from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as surface vessels and a submarine to strike eight locations, the senior military official said. In all, the official said approximately 25-30 precision guided munitions were fired at the targets, including Tomahawk cruise missiles. (CNN)

Houthis order US and British aid workers out of Yemen

Houthi authorities sent a letter Jan. 23 to the UN's acting humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, Peter Hawkins, requesting that all British and American nationals leave Yemen within a month. (Jurist)

Iran executes four more as Israeli spies

Iran executed four individuals it claims were involved in an intelligence operation backed by Israel's Mossad agency. Iran charged the four individuals with orchestrating a bomb attack on a factory in the city of Isfahan, known for manufacturing weapons and equipment for Iran's Ministry of Defense. The plot was supposedly intended to take place during the summer of 2022 but was averted by Iranian intelligence. (Jurist)

Houthi camps in Yemen's capital hit by air-strikes

Houthi camps in mountains surrounding Yemen's capital Sanaa were hit by air-strikes Feb. 3. Houthi-run Al Masirah TV said "US-British aggression" is targeting the capital. (Xinhua)

Iran says Israel behind attacks on gas pipelines

Iran has accused Israel of being behind two attacks last week on gas pipelines that disrupted supplies in several provinces.

"The explosion of the country's gas lines was the work of Israel," Oil Minister Javad Owji said Feb. 21 after a cabinet meeting.

Two explosions hit Iran's leading south-north gas pipeline network on Feb. 14. They were initially described by Owji as a "terrorist act or sabotage," without naming who was behind the attacks. The targeted line links Asaluyeh, a hub for Iran's offshore South Pars gas field, with cities on the Caspian Sea. (Al Jazeera)