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The Israeli military promises a response to the attack on Iran as calls for restraint grow

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The Israeli military promises a response to the attack on Iran as calls for restraint grow

Israelis were awaiting word on how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would respond to Iran’s first-ever direct attack, as international pressure for restraint grew amid fears of an escalation of the Middle East conflict.

Netanyahu on Monday convened his war cabinet for the second time in less than 24 hours to weigh a response to the Iranian weekend. missile and drone attacka government source said.

Military Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said Israel would respond. He gave no details.

“This launch of so many rockets, cruise missiles and drones on Israeli soil will be met with a response,” he said at the Nevatim air base in southern Israel, which suffered some damage in Saturday evening’s attack.

The prospect of Israeli retaliation is alarmed Many Iranians are already enduring economic pain and tighter social and political controls since the 2022-2023 protests.

Iran launched the attack in retaliation for what it said was an April 1 Israeli airstrike on its embassy complex in Damascus, and signaled it would not seek further escalation.

Although the attack caused no deaths and limited damage, it has raised fears of open war between the old enemies and fueled concerns that the violence was rooted in Gaza war spreads.

US President Joe Biden told Netanyahu announced this weekend that the United States, which helped Israel weaken the Iranian attack, will not participate in an Israeli counterattack.

Clashes have erupted between Israel and Iran-linked groups in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq since the war in Gaza began in October. Israel said four of its soldiers were wounded hundreds of meters inside Lebanese territory overnight.

It appeared to be the first known incident since the outbreak of the Gaza war, although several firefights have taken place between Israel and the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah.

“We are on the brink of the abyss and we must move away from it,” European Union foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell told Spanish radio station Onda Cero. “We have to put on the brakes and back up.”

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron made similar calls. Washington and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres have also called for restraint.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby declined Monday to say whether Biden urged Netanyahu to exercise restraint in responding to Iran during Saturday night’s talks.

“We don’t want to see a war with Iran. We do not want to see a regional conflict,” Kirby told a briefing, adding that it was up to Israel to decide “if and how they will respond.”

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a call Monday with counterparts in the Middle East and Europe: “While the United States does not seek escalation, we will continue to defend Israel and U.S. personnel,” the Pentagon said.

Russia has refrained from publicly criticizing its ally Iran, but has also urged restraint.

“Further escalation is not in anyone’s interest,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

China said it believed that Iran could “handle the situation well and spare the region further unrest” while safeguarding its sovereignty and dignity.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in a phone call on Monday that China also appreciated Iran’s emphasis on not targeting regional and neighboring countries, the official Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.

Iran launched its attack after the April 1 killing in Damascus of seven Iranian Revolutionary Guard officers, including two senior commanders. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied the attack.

G7 CONSIDERS IRAN SANCTIONS

Iran’s retaliatory strike, involving more than 300 missiles and drones, caused modest damage in Israel and injured a 7-year-old girl. Most were shot by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system and with help from the US, Britain, France and Jordan.

In Gaza itself, where according to figures from the Israeli Ministry of Health, more than 33,000 Palestinians have been killed during the Israeli offensive, the Iranian action was applauded.

Israel began its campaign against Hamas after the Palestinian militant group attacked Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking 253 hostages from Israeli allies.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the Group of Seven major democracies is working on a package of coordinated measures against Iran.

“I have spoken to my fellow G7 leaders and we are united in our condemnation of this attack,” Sunak said in parliament.

Italy, which holds the rotating presidency of the G7, said it was open to new sanctions and suggested that any new measures would target individuals. In an interview with Reuters, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said all G7 members should support new sanctions.

Iran’s attack has disrupted travel, affecting at least a dozen airlines cancel or redirect flights, and the European aviation regulator reaffirming advice that airlines should exercise caution in Israeli and Iranian airspace. – Reuters