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Iran and Israel have a history of enmity. What key recent events led to Iran’s assault on Israel?

Iran’s dramatic aerial attack on Israel follows years of enmity between the countries and marks the first time Iran has launched a direct military assault on Israel. The hostility between the countries has only worsened in the six months since Hamas launched its attack on Israel, which set off a war that continues to threaten to drag the entire region towards a broader conflict.

Here is a look at the key events leading up to Iran’s assault:

Hamas attacks Israel
October 7 – Thousands of Hamas-led militants storm across the border into Israel, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking roughly 250 captive, according to Israeli authorities. The assault triggered a devastating war that has killed more than 33,700 people, mostly women and children, according to local health officials. In launching the assault, Hamas hopes other regional enemies of Israel will join. US President Joe Biden warns Israel’s regional foes not to get involved and sends military support to the Middle East.

Hezbollah joins the war, at a low level
October 8 – A day after Hamas’ attack, the Iran-backed Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah begins firing toward Israel, setting off months of low-intensity but deadly cross-border fighting that displaced tens of thousands of people on both sides of the border.

Houthis stage attack
November – The Yemeni rebels, who are supported by Iran, launch a campaign of drone and missile attacks on shipping assets in the Red Sea beginning in November, describing their efforts as a way to pressure Israel to end the war against Hamas. They also fire missiles toward Israel, although those largely fall short or are intercepted.

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