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regular-article-logo Friday, 31 May 2024

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi warns of 'massive' response if Israel launches 'tiniest invasion'

Iran launched hundreds of missiles and drones at Israel over the weekend in response to an apparent Israeli strike on Iran's embassy compound in Syria on April 1

AP Jerusalem Published 17.04.24, 08:16 PM
Ebrahim Raisi

Ebrahim Raisi File picture

Iran's president has warned that the “tiniest invasion” by Israel would bring a “massive and harsh” response, as the region braces for potential Israeli retaliation after Iran's attack over the weekend.

President Ebrahim Raisi spoke Wednesday at an annual army parade that was relocated to a barracks north of the capital, Tehran, from its usual venue on a highway in the city's southern outskirts. Iranian authorities gave no explanation for its relocation, and state television didn't broadcast it live, as it has in previous years.

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Iran launched hundreds of missiles and drones at Israel over the weekend in response to an apparent Israeli strike on Iran's embassy compound in Syria on April 1 that killed 12 people, including two Iranian generals.

Israel, with help from the United States, the United Kingdom, neighboring Jordan and other nations, successfully intercepted nearly all the missiles and drones.

Tensions in the region have increased since the start of the latest Israel-Hamas war on October 7, when Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two militant groups backed by Iran, carried out a cross-border attack that killed 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped 250 others. Israel responded with an offensive in Gaza that has caused widespread devastation and killed more than 33,800 people, according to local health officials.

Currently:

— British envoy says Israel is making a decision to act' as Iran vows to respond to any incursion

— UN appeals for USD 2.8 billion to help 3 million Palestinians in desperate need of food and other aid

— Israel is vowing to retaliate against Iran, risking further expanding their shadow war

Here is the latest:

UK FOREIGN SECRETARY DAVID CAMERON IN ISRAEL FOR MEETINGS

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron says “it's clear the Israelis are making a decision to act” against Iran, but he hopes it will do so “in a way that is smart as well as tough and also does as little as possible to escalate this conflict.”

Cameron landed in Israel on Wednesday for meetings with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials.

He said his main aim was to “focus back the eyes of the world back on the hostage situation” and urged Hamas to agree to a temporary cease-fire agreement.

Cameron told broadcasters that “the real need is to refocus back on Hamas, back on the hostages, back on getting the aid in, back on getting a pause in the conflict in Gaza.”

Cameron is due to travel from the Middle East to a meeting of Group of Seven foreign ministers in Italy. He said he wanted the group of wealthy industrialized nations to “show a united front” and impose coordinated sanctions on Iran in response to its “malign activity” in the region.

“They need to be given a clear and unequivocal message by the G7 and I hope that will happen at the weekend,” Cameron said.

RIGHTS GROUP SAYS ISRAELI FORCES JOINED OR FAILED TO STOP SETTLER ATTACKS ON PALESTINIANS

Human Rights Watch says Israeli forces either took part in or failed to stop settler attacks on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank that displaced hundreds of people from several Bedouin communities last fall.

Settler violence surged after the October 7 Hamas attack that triggered the war in Gaza, leading to the complete uprooting of at least seven Palestinian Bedouin communities and displacement from several others, according to the New York-based rights group.

Settlers launched another wave of attacks late last week after a 14-year-old Israeli boy was killed in what Israeli authorities say was a militant attack. The United Nations' human rights office on Tuesday called on Israeli security forces to “immediately end their active participation in and support for settler attacks on Palestinians.”

The Human Rights Watch report released Wednesday focused on the earlier rash of violence. The rights group says Israeli settlers assaulted Palestinians, stole their belongings and livestock and threatened to kill them if they did not leave permanently. The settlers also destroyed homes and schools.

The military didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

IRAN THREATENS MASSIVE' RESPONSE IF ISRAEL LAUNCHES TINIEST INVASION'

Iran's president has warned that the “tiniest invasion” by Israel would bring a “massive and harsh” response, as the region braces for potential Israeli retaliation after Iran's attack over the weekend.

President Ebrahim Raisi spoke Wednesday at an annual army parade that was relocated to a barracks north of the capital, Tehran, from its usual venue on a highway in the city's southern outskirts. Iranian authorities gave no explanation for its relocation, and state TV did not broadcast it live, as it has in previous years.

Iran launched hundreds of missiles and drones at Israel over the weekend in response to an apparent Israeli strike on Iran's embassy compound in Syria on April 1 that killed 12 people, including two Iranian generals.

Israel, with help from the United States, the United Kingdom, neighboring Jordan and other nations, successfully intercepted nearly all the missiles and drones.

Israel has vowed to respond, without saying when or how, while its allies have urged all sides to avoid further escalation.

Raisi said Saturday's attack was a limited one, and that if Iran had wanted to carry out a bigger attack, “nothing would remain from the Zionist regime.” His remarks were carried by the official IRNA news agency.

Israel and Iran have waged a shadow war for decades, but the strike over the weekend was the first direct Iranian military attack on Israel.

UN APPEALS FOR USD 2.8 BILLION TO PROVIDE AID TO 3 MILLION PALESTINIANS

The United Nations is appealing for USD 2.8 billion to provide desperately needed aid to 3 million Palestinians, stressing that tackling looming famine in war-torn Gaza doesn't only require food but sanitation, water and health facilities.

Andrea De Domenico, the head of the UN humanitarian office for Gaza and the West Bank, told reporters Tuesday that “massive operations” are required to restore those services and meet minimum standards — and this can't be done during military operations.

He pointed to the destruction of hospitals, water and sanitation facilities, homes, roads and schools, adding that “there is not a single university that is standing in Gaza.” De Domenico said there are signs of Israel's “good intention” to get humanitarian aid into Gaza, but the UN keeps pushing because it's not enough. He pointed to Israeli denials and delays on UN requests for aid convoys to enter Gaza.

The UN humanitarian official called for a complete change of focus to recognize that preventing famine goes beyond providing flour for bread or pita and to recognize that “water, sanitation and health are fundamental to curb famine.”

IRAQ'S PM SAYS HE URGED CALM AMONG ALL PARTIES IN TALKS WITH BIDEN

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani says he pressed President Joe Biden on the need “for all parties to calm down” as conflict threatens to worsen further between Iran and US ally Israel.

Al-Sudani spoke to reporters Tuesday night on a Washington visit that included talks with Biden at the White House on Monday.

Saturday's drone and missile launches by Iran targeting Israel, including some that overflew Iraqi airspace and others that were launched from Iraq by Iran-backed groups, have underscored the delicate relationship between Washington and Baghdad.

Al-Sudani said Iraq, like some other Arab nations, had tried unsuccessfully to talk Iran out of the strikes on Israel. Iran's attack was in retaliation for a suspected Israeli strike that killed senior Iranian military leaders at Iran's embassy complex in Syria.

Al-Sudani said the decision on allowing Iraqi airspace or soil to be used in any future attacks between Israel and Iran was Iraq's to make.

Iraqis “reaffirmed Iraq is an independent and sovereign nation,” he said. “We do not want to be a part in this conflict. We discussed this with Iran and with Biden."

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