The alliances and rivalries simmering in the Middle East may see the conflict between Hamas and Tel Aviv spread beyond the Gaza Strip, West Bank and Israel.
In fact, one geopolitical expert believes the war may end up affecting Europe “directly”, particularly if the Lebanon-based Hezbollah get involved.
Kervin Aucoin, who runs a geopolitical podcast called This Week Explained, told Express.co.uk: “There is a risk of the conflict spilling over into Lebanon and Syria.
“Israel is also surrounded by countries that support Hamas and the Palestinian state (ie Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, etc.).
“The conflict may even affect Europe directly, depending on which countries offer military support to Israel.
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“If Hezbollah gets involved in a ground war from the north, it will increase the likelihood of the UK, Western Europe, and the United States getting involved militarily.”
Terror attacks, Mr Aucoin suggested, can’t be ruled out given the nature of terror groups.
He said: “Historically, terror groups have had multiple sleeper cells ready to launch once requested, and there is some concern that would happen if Western forces are launched.
“Another aspect of this conflict is when will Iran choose to get involved militarily.
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“If the UK and US are forced to get involved because Israel is a top ally, Iran may use this as justification for getting involved, and at that point, the conflict reaches its pinnacle.”
Both Iran and Hezbollah – a group backed and armed by Tehran – have sided with Hamas but denied any involvement in the horrific attacks launched on Saturday across Israel by its militants.
Skirmishes have been noticed on Israel’s northern border over the past days, with Hezbollah firing rockets and artillery onto three posts in Shebaa Farms on Sunday to show “solidarity” with Palestinians.
On Tuesday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said 15 rockets were fired from Lebanon at the Western Galilee, and other attacks had come from Syria.
The Israeli military responded to the fire, and it stated to be “prepared for all scenarios” to protect their country.
Another geopolitical analyst, Irina Tsukerman, believes there are a series of scenarios that could lead to the war between Hamas and Israel to escalate into a regional conflict.
Naming a few, she told Express.co.uk: “If any of the other Iranian proxies such as Hezbollah get involved and cannot be easily contained; to protect its borders Israel would then have to potentially enter Lebanon; if Iraqi militias and Hezbollah affiliates in Syria start firing that could leave Israel in an encircled position.
“Additional actors such as the Houthis could provide military support to Hamas as they offered in the past, and moreover could pose a threat to maritime security and international trade in the Strait of Hormuz.”
Israel may also decide that “taking out Hamas targets in Gaza will not solve the long-term problem if other Hamas operatives have escaped outside of the Strip to neighbouring countries or further abroad”, Ms Tsukerman said to include another scenario that could see the conflict touch other nations.
The expert noted evidence of concerns about regional escalation can be seen in Washington’s decision to deploy to the Mediterranean the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group – the world’s largest warship.
Moreover, US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday in what could be seen as a warning to Hezbollah: “To any country, any organisation, anyone thinking of taking advantage of the situation, I have one word: Don’t.”
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