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Israel’s Netanyahu vows victory after Iran strikes, fears of wider conflict grow

Israel’s Netanyahu vows victory after Iran strikes, fears of wider conflict grow
epaselect epa11277429 A view shows drones or missiles vying for targets at undisclosed locations in northern Israel, early 14 April 2024. According to the Israeli army IDF on early 14 April Iran launched missiles from its territory toward the territory of the State of Israel. The IDF called called for people to be alert and act according to the Home Front Command’s guidelines. EPA-EFE/ATEF SAFADI

JERUSALEM, April 14 (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Sunday his country would achieve victory after the military said it shot down almost all the more than 300 drones and missiles launched by Iran in a sharp escalation of the Middle East conflict.

By Dan Williams, Parisa Hafezi and Jeff Mason

Tehran’s attacks late on Saturday, launched after a suspected Israeli air strike on its embassy compound in Damascus on April 1 that killed officers of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, raised the threat of a wider regional conflict.

Iran had relied on its proxies across the region to attack Israeli and U.S. targets in a show of support for the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the Gaza war with Israel, which shows no sign of easing despite numerous mediations efforts.

“We intercepted, we repelled, together we shall win,” Netanyahu posted on X.

The Israeli military said the armed forces had shot down more than 99% of the Iranian drones and missiles and were discussing follow-up options.

Israel’s Channel 12 TV cited an unnamed Israeli official as saying there would be a “significant response” to the attack.

The war in Gaza, which Israel invaded after an attack by Iran-backed Hamas on Oct. 7, has ratcheted up tensions in the region, spreading to fronts with Lebanon and Syria and drawing long-range fire at Israeli targets from as far away as Yemen and Iraq.

 

‘PUSH TOWARD ESCALATION’

Iran’s most powerful ally in the region, the Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah – which has been exchanging fire with Israel since the Gaza war began – said early on Sunday it had fired rockets at an Israeli base.

Drones were also reportedly launched against Israel by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group, which has attacked shipping lanes in an around the Red Sea to show solidarity with Hamas, British maritime security company Ambrey said in a statement.

Those clashes now threaten to morph into a direct open conflict pitting Iran and its regional allies against Israel and its main supporter, the United States. Regional power Egypt urged “utmost restraint”.

Israel’s chief military spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, called Iran’s actions “very grave”, telling a televised briefing they “push the region toward escalation”.

Iran launched dozens of ground-to-ground missiles at Israel, including more than 10 cruise missiles, and most were intercepted outside Israeli borders, Hagari said.

The Iranian salvo caused light damage to one Israeli military facility, he said.

The Israeli military said it was not advising residents to prepare to take shelter, revising an earlier alert in an apparent signal of the end of the threat.

 

UN SECURITY COUNCIL TO MEET

Iran had vowed retaliation for what it called the Israeli strike on its embassy compound that killed seven Revolutionary Guard officers, including two senior commanders. Tehran said its strike was punishment for “Israeli crimes”. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the consulate attack.

“Should the Israeli regime make another mistake, Iran’s response will be considerably more severe,” the Iranian mission to the United Nations said, warning the U.S. to “stay away”. However, it also said Iran now “deemed the matter concluded”.

U.S. President Joe Biden, who spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said he would convene a meeting of leaders of the Group of Seven major economies on Sunday to coordinate a diplomatic response to what he called Iran’s brazen attack.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said America did not seek conflict with Iran but would not hesitate to act to protect U.S. forces and support defence of Israel.

The U.N. Security Council was set to meet at 4 p.m. ET (2000 GMT) on Sunday after Israel requested it condemn Iran’s attack and designate the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organisation.

Iran’s Fars news agency quoted a source as saying Tehran was closely watching Jordan, which might become the next target is case of any moves in support of Israel.

Israel and Lebanon said they were closing their airspace on Saturday night. Israel reopened its airspace at 0430 GMT on Sunday, its airports authority said. Jordan, which lies between Iran and Israel, had readied air defences to intercept any drone or missile that violated its territory, two regional security sources said.

Residents in several Jordanian cities said they heard heavy aerial activity.

Syria, an ally of Iran, said it was putting its ground-to-air defence systems around the capital and major bases on high alert, army sources there said.

The European Union, Britain, Japan, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Mexico, the Netherlands and Norway condemned Iran’s attack.

(Reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem, Parisa Hafezi in Dubai, Timur Azhari in Baghdad, Jeff Mason, Eric Beech and Doina Chiacu in Washington, Suleiman al-Khalidi in Amman; Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by William Mallard)

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Agf Agf says:

    No doubt Pandor has contacted her friends in Iran to congratulate them on their valiant efforts and to offer South Africa’s support in their fight against the evil Zionists.

    • Peter Dexter says:

      And simultaneously told the USA that South Africa remains neutral, and wants to continue trading with our largest trading partner at preferential terms

  • casper van zyl says:

    Pathetic attack !!
    If Israel launched a wave of 300 at least 200 will get through !!!

    • John P says:

      American, British and French warships shot down shot down many of the 300 and Jordan still more. It is unlikely that Israel alone would have coped with that many targets.

  • Rae Earl says:

    Don’t poke the bear. Poke the bear and it will react. Hamas poked the bear. What an idiotic thing to do to a state like Israel. The bear has gone on a rampage which could now engulf the Middle East in open warfare with even wider implications. Thanks Hamas! For nothing. Not that terrorist organisation could give a shit.

  • Peter Oosthuizen says:

    Netanyahu has succeeded in getting Iran to shoot back – a very transparent strategy to force Biden’s hand to reiterate support for Israel after even the USA was sickened by the wholesale slaughter of innocents. A pity Iran didn’t hold back.

  • Eberhard Knapp says:

    So Israel can bomb the Iranian Embassy in Damascus – and Iran should quietely stand by?
    This is just another ploy by Netanyahu to escalate the war to a regional war – so that he can stay in power and avoid punishment which awaits ´him in Israeli courts, where he stands accused of serious corruption! Essentially – the main reason for the Gaza War as well…

  • Leslie van Minnen says:

    Suppose the “Lady Iran” will soon dock in Simon’s Town Shortly.

  • Jabulani Dube says:

    ANC the snake under the grass. South Africa is buying relationships by supporting some stupidity. Iran and Russia are in the same boat and South Africa is smiling

  • Yaakov Rashi says:

    A 10-year old Bedouin Israeli child was killed by Iran and another child is in emergency care today. Didn’t cross your minds to report on that?

  • John P says:

    We seem to be forgetting that Netanyahu attacked Iranian territory first. An attack on an embassy is the same thing as an attack on the land of the nation. He is deliberately looking to ratchet up tensions with Iran so as to ensure he keeps the support of the British, American and EU governments.

    • PJ T says:

      We seem to be forgetting that Iran has been using its proxies in Syria and Lebanon to attack Israel. That is the same thing as Iran attacking Israel.

  • Alex Divov says:

    What an embarrassment for Iran and their feared “missile capability”.
    They launched the largest aerial assault in history and what did it achieve? Nothing!
    Like a dog with no teeth.

  • Fuad XXX says:

    Seems most forget the real reasons for this war:
    Let me remind everyone:
    1) Zionist Israeli Occupation. 2) Zionist Israeli Apartheid. 3) Zionist Israeli Stealing of Palestinian land. 4) Zionist Israeli Nazism. 5) Lies of Zaka – A company that had been found to be cooking the books & its founder had been accused of child sexual abuse. These are the people Nazi Zionist Netanyahu believe & all to steal Palestinian land. The Nazi Zionist should really face Expulsion. Period.

    • PJ T says:

      1. Israel is only occupying its own country.
      2. No Apartheid in Israel – Arab judges, MP,s, in all universities etc. Apartheid Gaza – no Jews allowed.
      3. Israel hasn’t stolen any land – Palestine was a vast area, Arab Palestine is Jordan, Jewish Palestine is Israel (btw look at a Palestinian flag of the 1930’s), and there is a bit that has never been independent between the two.
      4. Projection – Hamas are the fascists in the region
      5. Not sure what this red herring has to do with anything, but as far as child abuse is concerned, Hamas raped and beheaded children on 7 Oct which started all this.

      Both Gazans and Israelis would be better off if Hamas were defeated.

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