Israel has closed the airspace near its northern and southern fronts out of fears of new attacks by Iran’s allies on Quds Day.
The Airports Authority informed civilian pilots on April 13 that flying is prohibited within six kilometers of the borders of Syria, Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip. The ban, which will remain in effect until April 16 afternoon, applies primarily to agriculture and other light aircraft, as airlines never fly in such close proximity to the two fronts.
Last week, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) deployed additional Iron Dome air defense batteries across the country following warnings received by the security apparatus ahead of the last Friday of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which coincides with Quds Day. Many of the batteries are directed at Lebanon and Syria.
There were also fears of attacks on the ground and IDF troops were prepared for possible incidents along the northern and southern fronts.
Quds Day, which was initiated in Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, is meant to express support for Palestinians and oppose Israel.
Dozens of rockets were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip, Lebanon and Syria in a limited multi-front confrontation earlier this month. The attacks were a response to an assault by the Israeli Police on al-Aqsa, one of Islam’s holiest sites.
After the confrontation, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, Brigadier General Esmail Qaani, visited Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, and met with the leaders of Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas Movement. Israel’s Kan reported that Qaani discussed uniting against Israel during the meeting
Qaani also visited the Syrian capital, Damascus, where he met with senior Syrian officials, and possibly the leaders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Hezbollah released a video on Quds Day eve warning Israel of a full-blown multi-front war, which has added to Tel Aviv worries.
All in all, tensions between Israel and the so-called Axis of Resistance remain high. Any minor security incident could possibly lead to a serious multi-front confrontation between the two sides. Tel Aviv appears to be preparing for this worst case scenario.