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Ryan Robertson

Anchor, Investigative Reporter

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International

Surrounded by enemies, Israel could face multi-front war with Iran

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Ryan Robertson

Anchor, Investigative Reporter

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The Israel Defense Force is poised to launch a massive ground assault into Gaza against Hamas. If, or more likely when, that happens Iran said it won’t just be an observer in the conflict any longer. What that means remains to be seen.

The United States said there’s no direct proof Iran participated in, or even knew about, Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attacks into southern Israel. Critics countered that it’s unlikely Iran wasn’t at least complicit in the attacks. The Wall Street Journal reported Iran helped Hamas plan the massacres over the course of several weeks.

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The U.S. and Israel agree Iran’s support of Hamas is to further one goal: the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people. The current conflict could set the stage for a multi-front war between Israel, Iran and its proxies in the region.

Iran backs Hamas in Gaza, and Hamas’ influence is growing in the West Bank, another self-governed Palestinian territory. There’s been some fighting in the West Bank recently, but nothing to the scale of what’s happening in Gaza.

Iran also supports Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon, and there are reports troops from Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are being called in from bases in Syria to mass near the border with Israel.

Facing an enemy on four fronts is daunting for any force, but Israel’s government said it is united in its cause to root out Hamas once and for all from Gaza. So far, that’s been limited to mostly airstrikes on known command centers, weapons depots, and other Hamas-affiliated buildings, residences and underground terror tunnels.

But by all indications, a ground invasion of Gaza is imminent. The IDF mobilized hundreds of thousands of troops to its border with Gaza, including mobile artillery and tanks.

New images of Israeli tanks with “Cope Cages” mounted to them started appearing online recently. The modifications help prevent aerial drone attacks, a sign Israel may be taking a page from Ukraine’s defensive playbook and preparing for what Sen. Lindsey Graham called “urban warfare on steroids.”

Graham also said if Iran or Hezbollah launch a large-scale attack on Israel, he’d submit a resolution calling for military strikes on Iran’s oil refineries.

The strikes could be carried out by one of two U.S. carrier strike groups now in the region. The USS Eisenhower and USS Gerald Ford CSGs are both in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. The nuclear-powered carriers are accompanied by several guided missile destroyers.

The carriers can serve as command centers for intelligence gathering and help in humanitarian missions; but make no mistake, sending two carrier strike groups to the area is meant to send one message to Israel’s enemies: Stay out.

The Pentagon and White House said there are no plans to put U.S. troops on the ground in Israel. But with the massive amount of firepower sailing off the coast, boots on the ground may not be necessary. Guided missiles and fully loaded fighter jets could perform a host of missions without ever needing to step foot on any land, Israeli or otherwise.

While it’s unknown exactly when the ground invasion will start in Gaza, if we take the governments of Iran, Israel, and the U.S. at their word, the war between Israel and Hamas will escalate into a wider conflict. A conflict which undoubtedly will doubt have global, generational consequences.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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THE ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCE IS POISED TO LAUNCH A MASSIVE GROUND ASSAULT INTO GAZA. IF, OR MORE LIKELY WHEN, THAT HAPPENS IRAN SAYS IT WON’T JUST BE AN OBSERVER IN THE CONFLICT ANYLONGER. WHAT THAT MEANS REMAINS TO BE SEEN.

THE U.S. SAYS THERE’S NO DIRECT PROOF IRAN PARTICIPATED IN, OR EVEN KNEW ABOUT, HAMAS’ OCTOBER 7TH TERRORIST ATTACKS INTO SOUTHERN ISRAEL. CRITICS SAY IT’S UNLIKELY IRAN WASN’T AT LEAST COMPLICIT IN THE ATTACKS. THE WALL STREET JOURNAL REPORTED IRAN HELPED HAMAS PLAN THE MASSACRES OVER THE COURSE OF SEVERAL WEEKS.

THE U.S. AND ISRAEL SAY IRAN’S SUPPORT OF HAMAS IS TO FURTHER ONE GOAL: THE DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL AND THE JEWISH PEOPLE. THE CURRENT CONFLICT COULD SET THE STAGE FOR A MULTI-FRONT WAR BETWEEN ISRAEL, IRAN AND ITS PROXIES IN THE REGION.

IRAN BACKS HAMAS IN GAZA, AND HAMAS’ INFLUENCE IS GROWING IN THE WEST BANK, ANOTHER SELF-GOVERNED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY. THERE’S BEEN SOME FIGHTING IN THE WEST BANK RECENTLY, BUT NOTHING TO THE SCALE OF WHAT’S HAPPENING IN GAZA. IRAN ALSO SUPPORTS HEZBOLLAH TERRORISTS IN LEBANON, AND THERE ARE REPORTS TROOPS FROM IRAN’S ELITE ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS ARE BEING CALLED IN FROM BASES IN SYRIA TO MASS NEAR THE BORDER WITH ISRAEL.

FACING AN ENEMY ON FOUR FRONTS IS DAUNTING FOR ANY FORCE, BUT ISRAEL’S GOVERNMENT SAYS IT IS UNITED IN ITS CAUSE TO ROOT OUT HAMAS ONCE AND FOR ALL FROM GAZA. SO FAR, THAT’S BEEN LIMITED TO MOSTLY AIRSTRIKES ON KNOWN COMMAND CENTERS, WEAPONS DEPOTS, AND OTHER HAMAS-AFFILIATED BUILDINGS, RESIDENCES AND UNDERGROUND TERROR TUNNELS.

BUT BY ALL INDICATIONS, A GROUND INVASION OF GAZA IS IMMINENT. THE ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCE MOBILIZED HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF TROOPS TO ITS BORDER WITH GAZA, INCLUDING MOBILE ARTILLERY AND TANKS. NEW IMAGES OF ISRAELI TANKS WITH COPE CAGES MOUNTED TO THEM STARTED APPEARING ONLINE RECENTLY. THE MODIFICATIONS HELP PREVENT AERIAL DRONE ATTACKS, A SIGN ISRAEL MAY BE TAKING A PAGE FROM UKRAINE’S DEFENSIVE PLAYBOOK AND PREPARING FOR WHAT SENATOR LINSAY GRAHAM CALLED ‘URBAN WARFARE ON STEROIDS’.

SENATOR GRAHAM ALSO SAID IF IRAN OR HEZBOLLAH LAUNCH A LARGE-SCALE ATTACK ON ISRAEL, HE’D SUBMIT A RESOLUTION CALLING FOR MILITARY STRIKES ON IRAN’S OIL REFINERIES.

THE STRIKES COULD BE CARRIED OUT BY ONE OF TWO U.S. CARRIER STRIKE GROUPS NOW IN THE REGION. THE USS EISENHOWER AND USS GERALD FORD CSGs ARE BOTH IN THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN.THE NUCLEAR POWERED CARRIERS ARE ACCOMPANIED BY SEVERAL GUIDED MISSILE DESTROYERS.

THE CARRIERS CAN SERVE AS COMMAND CENTERS FOR INTELLIGENCE GATHERING AND HELP IN HUMANITARIAN MISSIONS; BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE, SENDING TWO CARRIER STRIKE GROUPS TO THE AREA IS MEANT TO SEND ONE MESSAGE TO ISRAEL’S ENEMIES: STAY OUT.

THE PENTAGON SAYS IT HAS NO PLANS TO PUT U.S. TROOPS ON THE GROUND IN ISRAEL, BUT WITH THE MASSIVE AMOUNT OF FIREPOWER SAILING OFF THE COAST BOOTS ON THE GROUND MAY NOT BE NECESSARY. GUIDED MISSILES AND FULLY LOADED FIGHTER JETS COULD PERFORM A HOST OF MISSIONS WITHOUT EVER NEEDING TO STEP FOOT ON ANY LAND, ISRAELI OR OTHERWISE.

WHILE WE DON’T KNOW EXACTLY WHEN THE GROUND INVASION WILL START IN GAZA, IF WE TAKE THE GOVERNMENTS OF IRAN, ISRAEL, AND THE U.S. AT THEIR WORD THE WAR BETWEEN ISRAEL AND HAMAS WILL ESCALATE INTO A WIDER CONFLICT THAT WILL NO DOUBT HAVE GLOBAL, GENERATIONAL CONSEQUENCES