Israel’s war in Gaza is at the center of a simmering regional crisis that has threatened to boil over in recent days, which have seen a string of strikes across the Middle East — some direct reverberations of Israel’s effort to root out Hamas.
As Israel targeted Hezbollah sites deep in southern Lebanon and the United States conducted a new round of strikes on what officials said were Houthi missile sites in Yemen, Iran launched strikes at what it said was an Israeli intelligence site in Iraq’s Kurdistan province and a militant site in Pakistan — prompting angry objections from both governments. Iran has also launched strikes into Syria, and its proxy groups in Iran and Syria have targeted U.S. troops there.
As strikes cascade, experts warn that a simple miscalculation could quickly spiral out of control.
“They’re playing a very dangerous game — it’s chicken, basically,” Joost Hiltermann, a Middle East expert at the International Crisis Group, said this month of the various governments and militant groups increasingly enmeshed in regional tensions. “Any miscalculation, any miscommunication, any accidental strike could trigger a major escalation.”
Some suggest that a regional conflict is already underway. Late last month, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told a parliamentary committee that the country was defending itself in a “multi-arena” war that went beyond Gaza and the West Bank.
“I say here in the most explicit way: Anyone who acts against us is a potential target. There is no immunity for anyone,” he said.
Here are some of the flash points across the region: