Iran-Israel attack latest updates: Netanyahu says Tel Aviv will make own decision on Iran attack response after Cameron talks

Israel ‘making decision to act’ after Iranian attack, says Cameron

Israel will “will make our own decisions” on a potential retaliation for Iran’s uprecedented attack, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said – hours after David Cameron landed in Israel for talks, urging restraint.

Britain’s foreign secretary told reporters that it was “clear the Israelis are making a decision to act” in response to Iran’s direct attack with hundreds of missiles and drones, adding: “We hope they do so in a way that does as little to escalate this as possible and in a way that, as I said yesterday, is smart as well as tough.”

But in an apparent response to his remarks, Mr Netanyahu released a statement hours later saying Israel would make its own decisions – and would “do everything necessary to defend itself”.

The UK wants “to see coordinated sanctions against Iran”, Lord Cameron said, ahead of an upcoming meeting of G7 foreign ministers in Italy. United States Treasury secretary Janet Yellen has already said she expects Washington will hit Tehran with new sanctions in a matter of days.

Iran launched the attack in retaliation for an airstrike on its embassy compound in Damascus.


In focus: If Iran goes nuclear, the world will become a dangerous place for all of us

Jack Straw was the first foreign secretary to visit Iran after the 1979 revolution and is used to negotiating with its leaders – even, on one occasion, from a train loo. Here, he explains why Netanyahu and Khamenei are throwing each other a lifeline to stay in power, and warns we could all pay the price…

If Iran goes nuclear, the world will become a very dangerous place for us all

Jack Straw was the first foreign secretary to visit Iran after the 1979 revolution and is used to negotiating with its leaders – even, on one occasion, from a train loo. Here, he explains why Netanyahu and Khamenei are throwing each other a lifeline to stay in power, and warns we could all pay the price…

Namita Singh18 April 2024 07:30


How Israeli strike on Iranian target led to escalation – report

Israel officials failed to foresee Iranian retaliation after it allegedly targeted Iran’s embassy in Syria, the New York Times claimed on Thursday.

It told the US about the impending airstrike of 1 April, when it was moments away, catching the ally off guard, the outlet reported, citing senior American officials involved in high-level discussion.

While the US publicly voiced its support for Israel, privately they expressed anger for moving ahead with the strike without consulting Washington, according to the paper.

The planning of Israeli attack on embassy in Syria began two months earlier, two senior Israeli officials told the paper on condition of anonymity, adding that the target was Mohammad Reza Zahedi, the commander for Syria and Lebanon of Iran’s elite Quds Force. Israeli war cabinet approved the operation on 22 March, it reported citing records of summarised preparations. The Israeli airstrike in Damascus killed seven Iranian officers, including three generals.

An Israeli military naval ship patrols the Mediterranean sea off the coast of Hadera, Israel, Sunday, 14 April 2024 (AP)

Following the attack, Iran vowed retaliation, however, informing the US through diplomatic channel that it does not want outright war with Israel and the US, waiting 12 days before the attack.

According to Iranian officials, its counterattack on Saturday was designed to inflict limited damage, reported the paper.

With Israel looking to respond to Iran, the US suspects, situation in the US will become more volatile as several Western countries rallied together urging Benjamin Netanyahu to exercise restraint.

Namita Singh18 April 2024 07:00


Congress moving swiftly on bipartisan action to punish Iran after revenge attack on Israel

Iran’s attack against Israel over the weekend has spurred a flurry of bipartisan legislative action in Congress, uniting lawmakers against the country even as the risk of a larger regional war looms.

Several measures introduced and passed in the House and Senate seek to both publicly condemn Iran and punish the Islamic Republic financially. Lawmakers have denounced Iran’s actions, which came in response to a suspected Israeli strike weeks earlier on an Iranian consular building in Syria that killed two Iranian generals.

“The world is on fire, and history will judge us for our action,” said Representative Mike McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, during a news conference on Tuesday.

The swift, bipartisan condemnation of Iran has put on sharp display the durability of American support for Israel, even amid growing partisan division over how the country is handling its more than six-month war with Hamas.

The House passed nearly a dozen bills by Wednesday that would, among other things, issue a slate of new sanctions and other financial restrictions against Iran and its leaders.

Namita Singh18 April 2024 06:48


Ministers urged by Tory MPs to do more to prevent famine in Gaza

UK government ministers have been urged to act swiftly to prevent famine in Gaza, amid calls for a harder line with the Israelis from a Conservative former minister.

Ex-cabinet minister Kit Malthouse urged the government to “do something concrete to save these lives”, as Foreign Office minister David Rutley faced pressure from to resume funding to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

The UK and other nations halted funding amid an investigation into allegations the agency’s workers colluded with militant group Hamas, though some have since restored their cashflow. Famine is looming in Gaza, with aid organisations and governments criticising bottlenecks at the Israeli border for restricting the flow of food support.

In a Commons urgent question dominated by opposition MPs, a small group of Tory MPs appealed to the Government to continue supporting UNRWA and press Israel into preventing civilian deaths.

Barney Davis18 April 2024 05:30


EU leaders back new Iran sanctions after attack on Israel

European Union leaders decided yesterday to step up sanctions against Iran after Tehran’s missile and drone attack on Israel left world powers scrambling to prevent a wider conflict in the Middle East.

The summit in Brussels is the first meeting of the EU’s 27 national leaders since Saturday’s attack, more than six months into the war between Israel and the Iran-backed Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Israel has signalled that it will retaliate but has not said how. EU leaders condemned the Iranian attack, reaffirmed their commitment to Israel’s security and called on all sides to prevent more tensions, including in Lebanon.

“The European Union will take further restrictive measures against Iran, notably in relation to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and missiles,” the leaders said in a joint statement.

Namita Singh18 April 2024 05:15


Israel will defend itself, says Netanyahu

Israel will make its own decisions about how to defend itself, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday said as Western countries pleaded for restraint in responding to a volley of attacks from Iran.

The United States, European Union and G7 group of industrialised nations all announced plans to consider tighter sanctions on Iran, seen as aimed at mollifying Israel and persuading it to rein in its retaliation for the first ever direct Iranian strikes after decades of confrontation by proxy.

Iran attacked in retaliation for a suspected Israeli airstrike on its embassy compound in Damascus on 1 April. Israel and its allies mostly shot down all missiles and drones, but Israel says it must retaliate to preserve the credibility of its deterrents. Iran says it views the matter as closed but will retaliate again if Israel does.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem, 18 February 2024 (Reuters)

Earlier, Mr Netanyahu met the German and British foreign ministers, who both travelled to Israel as part of a coordinated push to keep confrontation between Israel and Iran from escalating into a regional conflict fueled by the Gaza war.

Mr Netanyahu’s office said he thanked Annalena Baerbock and David Cameron for their support, while telling them: “I want to make it clear – we will make our own decisions, and the State of Israel will do everything necessary to defend itself.”

Earlier, Mr Cameron said it was now apparent Israel planned to retaliate for the Iranian missile and drone strikes.

Ms Baerbock said escalation “would serve no one, not Israel’s security, not the many dozens of hostages still in the hands of Hamas, not the suffering population of Gaza, not the many people in Iran who are themselves suffering under the regime…”

Namita Singh18 April 2024 05:00


EU to widen Iran sanctions, including drones, missiles – statement

The EU will take further sanctions against Iran following the country’s recent attack on Israel, in particular with regard to the production of drones and missiles, the council of national government leaders said in a statement after a meeting yesterday evening.

Namita Singh18 April 2024 04:45


Ireland urging Gaza not to respond to Iran attack

Ireland’s deputy premier and foreign affairs minister Micheal Martin has urged Israel not to respond to Iran’s unprecedented attack, warning that the threat of escalation in the Middle East “could not get more serious”.

“Ireland’s role, along with fellow members of the European Union, is to appeal for de-escalation of tensions and conflict between Israel and Iran,” he told a commissioning ceremony in County Kildare.

“The implications for the wider region and the civilians in the wider region are extremely dark if conflict escalates – and for the world itself in terms of lives and in terms of livelihoods.

“Regional escalation has the potential to really undermine and obstruct trade routes, which impacts people in terms of food and in terms of the basic essentials of life so it could not get more serious. We’re saying to Israel not to respond to Iran’s attack, and we’re saying to both sides to de-escalate.

“We must not forget about the plight of the people of Gaza who are close to famine, too many civilian lives have been lost, the trauma and terror that the children of Gaza have been through must end, and that war has to end very quickly and we have to get around the table in terms of charting a pathway for the reconstruction of Gaza and also for moving towards a political solution along the lines of a two-state approach.”

Barney Davis18 April 2024 04:30


House Ukraine, Israel aid package gains Biden’s support as Speaker Johnson fights to keep his job

President Joe Biden yesterday said he strongly supports a proposal from Republican House speaker Mike Johnson to provide aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, sending crucial bipartisan support to the precarious effort to approve $95bn in funding for the US allies this week.

Before potential weekend voting, Mr Johnson was facing a choice between potentially losing his job and aiding Ukraine. He notified lawmakers earlier yesterday that he would forge ahead despite growing anger from his right flank. Shortly after Johnson released the aid proposals, the Democratic president offered his emphatic support for the package.

“The House must pass the package this week, and the Senate should quickly follow,” Mr Biden said.

US president Joe Biden exits Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on 17 April 2024 in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

“I will sign this into law immediately to send a message to the world: We stand with our friends, and we won’t let Iran or Russia succeed.”After agonising for days over how to proceed on the package, Mr Johnson pushed ahead on a plan to hold votes on three funding packages — to provide about $61bn for Ukraine, $26bn for Israel and $8bn to allies in the Indo-Pacific — as well as several other foreign policy proposals in a fourth bill.

The plan roughly matches the amounts that the Senate has already approved.The bulk of the money for Ukraine would go to purchasing weapons and ammunitions from US defense manufacturers.

Mr Johnson is also proposing that $9bn of economic assistance for Kyiv be structured as forgivable loans, along with greater oversight on military aid, but the decision to support Ukraine at all has angered populist conservatives in the House and given new energy to a threat to remove him from the speaker’s office.

Namita Singh18 April 2024 04:24


Zelensky seeks EU attention, amid Iranian attack on Israel

With the Middle East capturing much of the EU’s attention, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky appealed for more help in holding the line against Russia, which unleashed an invasion against its neighbour more than two years ago.

“Here in Ukraine, in our part of Europe, unfortunately, we do not have the level of defence that we all saw in the Middle East a few days ago,” Mr Zelensky told the summit, after Israel and allies mostly shot down the incoming drones and missiles.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a meeting with Lithuania’s president at the Presidential Palace in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 11 April 2024 (AFP via Getty Images)

“It reflects our current key, the need for air defence,” he said, according to an EU official, repeating his calls for speedier deliveries of the weapons and ammunition previously promised to Ukraine.

Namita Singh18 April 2024 04:14

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