U.S. intelligence analysts and officials said Friday that they expected Iran to strike multiple targets inside Israel within the next few days in retaliation for an Israeli bombing April 1 in the Syrian capital that killed several senior Iranian commanders.

The United States, Israel’s preeminent ally, has military forces in several places across the Middle East. But Iran is not expected to target them in order to avoid a direct conflict with the United States, according to U.S. and Iranian officials who spoke anonymously about the expected attacks, which they were not authorized to discuss publicly.

Any Iranian strike inside Israel would be a watershed moment in the decades of hostilities between the two nations that would most likely open a volatile new chapter in the region. Israel and Iran do not maintain any direct channels of communication, making the chances far greater that each side could misread the other’s intentions. And an Iranian attack would heighten the risk of a wider conflict that could drag in multiple countries, including the United States.