Israel hits back at unprecedented Iranian attack as West urges Netanyahu to avoid war altogether


Israel's three-member war cabinet is weighing the country's unprecedented response overnight Barrage of drone and missile strikes From Iran, it threatens to turn the crisis in the Middle East into an uncontrolled regional war.

The War Cabinet is empowered to decide how to respond to the attack, one of its members – Defense Minister Yves Gallant – warned of the event. “Not over yet.”

Gallant said Israel “repeated this attack in an unparalleled manner” and added, “We must be prepared for every situation.” In his first remarks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We intercepted, we contained. Together we will prevail.”

An Israeli official told CNN on Sunday that Israel would retaliate against Iran's attack, but the purpose of the attack has not yet been decided. The official said Israel had not yet decided whether to try to “break all the food” or do something more.

But Israel is being urged by its Western allies to defuse the tense situation on Sunday, ending a week-long episode of uncertainty and conflict since Israel's war with Hamas that has killed more than 33,000 people. Palestinians in Gaza and the enclave have caused a humanitarian disaster.

A retaliatory attack by Iran was expected ever since Suspected Israeli attack The attack on the Iranian embassy in Syria earlier this month finally came late Saturday, when more than 300 missiles — including about 170 drones and 120 ballistic missiles — were fired at Israeli soil. Israeli officials said that “99%” was prevented with the help of allies including the US, UK and France. The only reported injury was a 10-year-old girl who was seriously injured by an Israeli interceptor.

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The reprisals brought years of covert conflict between the countries into the open, and marked the first time the Islamic Republic had launched a direct attack on Israel from its soil.

Although Israel and Iran have long been rivals, tensions have risen in the wake of Hamas attacks on Israel, which have killed around 1,200 people. Iran supports a web of proxies from Middle Eastern countries that have frequently clashed with Israel since the attacks.

On Sunday, Iran said a “new equation” had opened in its hostile relationship with Israel, and warned of a “much bigger” attack on the country if Netanyahu decides to launch an intervention.

“We have decided to create a new equation, which means that if the Zionist regime attacks our interests, properties, personalities and citizens anywhere, we will retaliate against them at any time,” the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said. Guards Corps (IRGC) Hossein Salami told Iranian state television. “Zionist regime” is the term used by Iran to refer to Israel.

Earlier, Sardar Bagheri, the commander-in-chief of Iran's armed forces, said: “If the Zionist regime responds, our next move will be very big.”

It said Iran's strikes targeted an Israeli airbase and an attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus. Iranian ballistic missiles that reached Israel hit an air base in southern Israel, causing only minor structural damage, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Daniel Hagari said.

Bagheri said military action against Israel is “over” from Iran's perspective. But in an interview with state-run IRINN television on Sunday, he insisted that the Iranian armed forces were on high alert and ready to “act if necessary.”

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The warnings came as the West urged Israel to step back from the brink of open war with its adversary.

After the attack, U.S. President Joe Biden spoke to Netanyahu by phone and made it clear that the U.S. would not participate in any offensive actions against Iran, a senior White House administration official told CNN.

Biden told Netanyahu that Saturday night's events should be considered a “victory” because Iran's attacks were largely unsuccessful. Proved Israel's “remarkable ability to defend against and defeat unprecedented attacks”.

Israeli Ministry of Defense/Manual/Anatolia via Getty Images

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant (second right) attends Israel's War Cabinet meeting on Sunday.

Meanwhile Biden has reiterated that America's commitment to Israel's defense remains “ironclad” against threats from Iran and its proxies.

There have also been calls for regulation in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, Iran's main regional rival, stressed the importance of “preventing further deterioration” of the crisis, while Qatar, which enjoys close economic ties with Iran, expressed “deep concern”. The UAE warned of “new instability” if the episode is not closed.

Iran blamed Israel and vowed to retaliate bombing of its embassy compound in Syria earlier this month.

Air strike Iran's foreign ministry said at the time that the destruction of the embassy building in the capital Damascus killed at least seven officers, including the top commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Mohammad Reza Zahedi and senior commander Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi.

Zahedi, a former commander of the IRGC's ground forces, air force and deputy commander of its operations, was the highest-profile Iranian target killed since then-US President Donald Trump ordered the assassination of IRGC General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad. 2020

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