Iran’s Raisi vows ‘stronger response’ to any ‘reckless’ Israeli move

TEHRAN: Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi warned Israel and its allies on Sunday against any “reckless” actions after Tehran’s drone and missile attack in retaliation for a deadly Israeli strike on its Damascus consulate.

“If the Zionist regime or its supporters demonstrate reckless behaviour, they will receive a decisive and much stronger response,” Raisi said in a statement.

Iran launched more than 200 drones and missiles at Israel, the Israeli army announced earlier, in a major escalation of the long-running covert war between the regional foes.

“Iran’s military action was in response to the Zionist regime’s aggression against our diplomatic premises in Damascus,” the Iranian mission to the UN said. The attack, according to the mission, was “conducted on the strength of Article 51 of the UN Charter pertaining to the legitimate defence”.

“If necessary”, Tehran “will not hesitate to take defensive measures to protect its interests against any aggressive military action,” Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Iran’s allies also carried out coordinated attacks on Israeli positions as sirens sounded in many places and AFP correspondents heard blasts in the skies above Jerusalem early Sunday.

Iran had repeatedly threatened to retaliate against Israel for a deadly April 1 air strike on its Damascus consular annexe, and Washington had warned repeatedly in recent days that the reprisals were imminent.

“Iran launched UAVs from its territory towards the territory of the state of Israel,” military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in a televised statement.

“We are working in close cooperation with the United States and our partners in the region in order to act against the launches and intercept them.”

People in Jerusalem sought cover, while some residents stockpiled water. “As you can see it’s empty, everybody is running home,” said Eliyahu Barakat, a 49-year-old grocery shop owner in Jerusalem’s Mamilla neighbourhood.

US President Joe Biden reiterated Washington’s “ironclad” support for Israel after an urgent meeting with his top security officials on the spiralling crisis.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards confirmed a drone and missile attack was launched against Israel in retaliation for the Damascus strike which killed seven Guards, two of them generals.

The Guards said ballistic missiles were fired almost an hour after the slower-moving drones.

Hundreds of Iranians gathered in Tehran’s Palestine Square waving Iranian and Palestinian flags to celebrate the unprecedented military action against Israel.

The Israeli army said Iran had launched a “massive swarm of over 200 killer drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles”.

“So far, we’ve intercepted the vast majority of incoming missiles,” Hagari claimed.

The army said it had scrambled dozens of fighter jets to intercept “all aerial threats”. Iran’s allies in the region joined the attack, with Yemen’s Houthis also launching drones at Israel, according to security agency Ambrey. Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement announced it had fired rockets at Israeli positions in the occupied Golan Heights around the same time, as well as a second barrage hours later.

‘Operation against Israel more successful than expected’

Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has stated that the operation carried out by the force against the Israeli regime was more successful than expected.

Major General Hossein Salami said on Sunday that the IRGC had received reports showing that part of the weapons fired by the force toward the Israeli-occupied territories had directly hit their targets.

“Our information on all of the hits is not complete yet but on that part of the hits that we have accurate, documented and field-related reports show that this operation has been carried out with a success that exceeded the expectation,” said Salami.

He said that the IRGC was capable of carrying out a large operation against Israel but it opted for a more restricted and limited one to hit Israeli resources that had been used for an airstrike on an Iranian consulate in Syria earlier this month which killed senior Iranian military commanders.

The IRGC commander advised the Israeli regime to regret its past actions and take a lesson from Iran’s attacks, adding that any reaction from Israel to Iran’s recent attacks would be met with a much stronger response.

Russia urges ‘restraint’ after Iranian attack on Israel

Russia on Sunday urged all sides to “show restraint” after Iran launched an unprecedented missile and drone attack on Israel. “We are counting on the regional states to solve the existing problems with political and diplomatic means,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Moscow expressed “extreme concern over the latest dangerous escalation in the region”. It said it had warned numerous times that “the lack of resolution to numerous crises in the middle East, primarily in the zone of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict” would “lead to growth in instability”.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday held phone talks with Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. The Russian foreign ministry said Lavrov reiterated “decisive condemnation” of an Israeli strike in Syria this month that killed Iranian generals.


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