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Shadow War Between Iran and Israel: A Timeline

For decades, Israel and Iran have fought a shadow war across the Middle East, trading attacks by land, sea, air and in cyberspace. A recent round of strikes — mainly an aerial barrage by Iran against Israel last weekend — has brought the conflict more clearly into the open and raised fears of a broader war.

A retaliatory Israeli strike on an Iranian air base on Friday, however, appeared limited in scope, and analysts said it suggested an effort to pull back from the dangerous cycle and potentially move the war back into the shadows.

Here is a recent history of the conflict:

August 2019: An Israeli airstrike killed two Iranian-trained militants in Syria, a drone set off a blast near a Hezbollah office in Lebanon and an airstrike in Qaim, Iraq, killed a commander of an Iran-backed Iraqi militia. Israel accused Iran at the time of trying to establish an overland arms-supply line through Iraq and northern Syria to Lebanon, and analysts said the strikes were aimed at stopping Iran and signaling to its proxies that Israel would not tolerate a fleet of smart missiles on its borders.

January 2020: Israel greeted with satisfaction the assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the commander of the foreign-facing arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, in an American drone strike in Baghdad.

Iran hit back by attacking two bases in Iraq that housed American troops with a barrage of missiles, wounding about 100 U.S. military personnel.

2021-22: In July 2021, an oil tanker managed by an Israeli-owned shipping company was attacked off the coast of Oman, killing two crew members, according to the company and three Israeli officials. Two of the officials said that the attack appeared to have been carried out by Iranian drones.

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