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Iran Israel attack – latest: Israel military vows response as Western nations urge restraint

Israel Defense Forces releases statement amidst Iranian attack

Western leaders are anxiously waiting on Israel after its military leaders vowed to respond to Saturday’s attack – with fears any retaliation could escalate the Middle East conflict.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned his war cabinet for the second time in less than 24 hours to weigh a response to Iran’s massive weekend missile and drone attack.

It came as the country’s military chief of staff Herzi Halevi said that the attack from Tehran “will be met with a response”.

And on Tuesday, President Ebrahim Raisi went further to say “any action against its [Iran] interests” would be met with “a severe, widespread and painful response”.

Meanwhile, western leaders are urging Israel to show restraint, with US President Joe Biden telling Mr Netanyahu that his armed forces would not participate in an Israeli counter-strike.

On Tuesday, Rishi Sunak is also set to urge Mr Netanyahu to show restraint. In a Commons statement, Mr Sunak said he would “express our solidarity with Israel in the face of this attack” and “discuss how we can prevent further escalation”.

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Israel pushing for more sanctions against Iran

Israel‘s foreign minister said on Tuesday he was urging countries to place sanctions on Iran’s missile programme and proscribe its Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organisation after Iran’s first-ever direct attack on Israel.

“Alongside the military response to the firing of missiles and drones, I am leading a diplomatic attack against Iran,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in a social media post.

Katz said he sent letters to 32 countries and spoke with numerous counterparts, calling on them to “place sanctions on Iran’s missile project and declare the Revolutionary Guard a terror organisation, as a way to stop and weaken Iran.”

“We must stop Iran now, before it will be too late.”

However, Home Office minister Laura Farris has said banning Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps could sever the UK’s direct diplomatic link with Tehran

She said: “We’re not for a second defending the IRGC. We’re simply saying that maintaining that channel with Tehran at this moment in time is, at present, in our national interest.”

Alex Ross16 April 2024 10:58

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Iran will respond to any action against its interests

To add to concerns over any escalation in the conflict in the Middle East, Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, issued a statement on Tuesday warning his country will respond to any action against its interests.

Speaking a day after Israel warned it will respond to Tehran’s weekend drone and missile attack, he said: “We categorically declare that the smallest action against Iranian interests will certainly be met with a severe, widespread and painful response against any perpetrator.

Israel’s military Chief of Staff, Herzi Halevi, said on Monday that Iran‘s attack on Israel – which was a retaliation after the April 1 bombing of the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus – warranted a response.

Ebrahim Raisi has issued a warning to Israel against any retaliation (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Alex Ross16 April 2024 10:53

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‘UK resisting calls to ban Iran’s IRGC to maintain diplomatic link’

Banning Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) could sever the UK’s direct diplomatic link with Tehran, a minister warned.

Rishi Sunak has come under renewed pressure to proscribe the IRGC as a terrorist organisation following Iran’s missile and drone barrage aimed at Israel.

But minister Laura Farris suggested Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron wanted to maintain the ability to speak directly to Iran, something which could be jeopardised if the military force was banned.

The UK is keen to preserve diplomatic ties with Tehran to minimise the risk of a miscalculation in the Middle East which could ignite a wider war.

Mr Sunak is set to urge Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to show restraint in a call on Tuesday after the thwarting of the Iranian attack over the weekend.

Britain joined the US and other allies in shooting down Iranian attack drones on Saturday night, and has subsequently joined the US in urging calm in the region as the Israeli leader considers how to respond.

Alex Ross16 April 2024 09:25

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Iran’s nuclear facilities

The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency director General Rafael Grossi was speaking to reporters in New York on Monday when he was asked about the threat to Iran’s nuclear facilities in the wake of speculations Israel will launch an attack in response to Saturday’s bombings.

Asked about the possibility of an Israel strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, Grossi says “We are always concerned about this possibility.” He urges “extreme restraint.”

The facilities were closed on Sunday over “security considerstions”, but reopened on Monday.

Iran’s main nuclear facilities are regularly inspected by the IAEA, and when asked if the closure would impact activity, Mr Grossi said: “We are going to resume tomorrow [Tuesday]

“This has not had an impact on our inspection activity.”

Alex Ross16 April 2024 08:31

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US air force and navy helped Israel down Iran’s missiles

US air force fighter jet squadrons as well as navy ships in the Mediterranean Sea participated in the effort to take out Iranian missiles and drones, the Pengaton said.

Navy destroyers USS Carney and USS Arleigh Burke shot down missiles from the sea.

Maj Gen Pat Ryder, Pentagon press secretary, said yesterday that some additional fighter squadrons were moved into the region before the weekend, and they remain there.

He, however, did not identify the countries where they were based.

The US will “stay in close consultation with our Israeli partners, as we have done throughout the weekend. Again, we don’t seek wider regional conflict,” he told reporters.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar16 April 2024 08:00

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Austin tells counterparts: ‘US does not seek escalation’

US defence secretary Lloyd Austin held calls with counterparts in the Middle East and Europe, expressing support for Israel after attacks from Iran but also stressing regional stability to prevent conflict from spreading, the Pentagon said.

Mr Austin told his counterparts that “while the United States does not seek escalation, we will continue to defend Israel and US personnel”, according to the Pentagon.

In the call with Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant, Mr Austin expressed support for Israel’s defence and “reaffirmed the strategic goal of regional stability”.

“Whether or not Israel decides to retaliate against Iran is something for Israel to decide,” a Pentagon spokesperson told reporters yesterday.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar16 April 2024 07:30

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Voices | Netanyahu is a ruthless opportunist who will do what’s best for him

Iran has been good for Benjamin Netanyahu over his long and successful political career. Israel’s prime minister has never been backward in blaming the Ayatollahs for a myriad of ills, and bemoaning that the West was not seeing the full danger from Tehran.

Netanyahu had gained political capital from portraying himself as “Mr Security”, protecting his country from Palestinian militants and their Iranian patrons.

Now, just as Israel was getting isolated internationally and facing unprecedented levels of censure from allies over its continuing Gaza onslaught, the mass air strike by Iran has handed him a great advantage.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar16 April 2024 07:00

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UN concerned over Israel’s possible attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities

The UN nuclear watchdog chief yesterday said he was concerned about Israel possibly targeting Iranian nuclear facilities.

His statement comes after Israel’s military chief said his country would respond to a weekend missile and drone attack by Iran, launched in retaliation for a suspected Israeli airstrike on its embassy compound in Damascus on 1 April.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general Rafael Grossi said Iran closed its nuclear facilities on Sunday over “security considerations” and that while they reopened on Monday, he kept IAEA inspectors away “until we see that the situation is completely calm”.

“We are going to resume tomorrow,” Mr Grossi told reporters in New York. “This has not had an impact on our inspection activity.”

When asked about the possibility of an Israel strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, Mr Grossi said: “We are always concerned about this possibility”. He urged “extreme restraint.”

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar16 April 2024 06:30

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Iran will respond to provocation ‘in seconds’

Iran’s deputy foreign minister said Tehran would not wait for days and instead would respond to any fresh Israeli provocation within seconds.

“They should know that they will not have a 12-day-long times pace,” said Ali Bagheri Kani in a televised interview last night.

“The response that they are going to receive [this time around] cannot be measured by [such time standards as] days or hours, but [will come in a matter of] seconds,” he said, according to Mehr News.

His statement comes after Israel’s military chief Herzi Halevi said Iran’s attack on the country “will be met with a response”.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar16 April 2024 06:04

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Israel cannot afford to risk alienating its allies over Iran

Alexander Butler16 April 2024 06:00


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