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Iran downplays response attributed to Israel, no respite in Gaza

Photo: Zain Jaafar Agence France-Presse The war between Israel and Hamas, triggered by an unprecedented attack by the Palestinian Islamist movement on October 7, has not let up and has left 34,049 dead in Gaza, mainly civilians, according to Hamas.

France Media Agency in Tehran

Posted at 8:26 a.m.

  • Middle East

Tehran on Saturday downplayed the previous day's attack blamed on Israel in central Iran, saying there would be no retaliation, with both sides appearing to move away from a escalation at a time when the war in Gaza knows no respite.

In an interview with the American channel NBC, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian put into perspective the attack which took place at dawn on Friday in the center of the country.

“What happened last night wasn’t an attack. “They were two or three quadcopter drones, like the ones children play with in Iran,” he quipped, adding that “as long as there is no new [military offensive] in the name of Israeli regime against the interests of Iran, we will not retaliate.”

On Friday, Iranian state media reported that detonations were heard at dawn near a military base in the Isfahan area, after “several” small drones were ” successfully shot down” by the country’s “air defense system.”

Media reports in the United States, citing American officials, claimed that this was an Israeli operation carried out in response to an unprecedented Iranian drone and missile attack on Israel on April 13.

According to the Washington Post, citing an Israeli official who requested anonymity, the attack was intended to show Iran that Israel had the ability to strike inside its territory.

A senior official in the American Congress who did not wish to be named confirmed to AFP an Israeli attack in Iran. Questioned by AFP, the Israeli army did not comment on these events in Iran.

This latest outbreak of fever comes as the war between Israel and Hamas, triggered by an unprecedented attack by the Palestinian Islamist movement on October 7, has not let up and has left 34,049 dead in Gaza, mainly civilians, according to the Hamas.

On Saturday, the Israeli army continued its strikes against “terrorist targets” in different sectors of the besieged Palestinian territory threatened with famine.

“Reduce escalation”

A sign of the explosive nature of the situation, the international community rushed, in the wake of the attack on Friday, to launch calls for calm.

The head of American diplomacy Antony Blinken stressed that the “objective” of his country and the other members of the G7, meeting in Capri, Italy, was “de-escalation”.

The head of Russian diplomacy Sergei Lavrov reported contacts with Iran and Israel. “We told the Israelis that Iran does not want escalation,” he said.

For Iranian political expert Hamid Gholamzadeh, “the Isfahan incident is a very insignificant act of sabotage.”

“Israel […] needs another escalation and another war to distract the world from the Gaza Strip and involve the United States and others in a war to defend it,” he said.

In Iran's first ever direct attack on Israeli territory on April 13, Israel claimed to have intercepted with its allies, mainly the United States, almost all of the approximately 350 drones and Iranian missiles.

Iran said it acted in “self-defense” after the attack which destroyed its consulate in Damascus on April 1 and cost the lives of seven of its soldiers, including two high-ranking officers. Tehran accused Israel, which neither confirmed nor denied.

The leader of Hamas in Turkey

Tensions between Israel and Iran come after six months of war in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel in particular, took power in 2007.

Israel launched a major offensive after an attack on its territory on October 7 by commandos of the Iran-backed Hamas that resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP report established based on official data.

More than 250 people were kidnapped during the attack and 129 are being held in Gaza, 34 of whom died according to Israeli officials.

In addition to the heavy human toll and destruction, the approximately 2.4 million inhabitants are threatened with famine according to the UN, which is urging the entry of more humanitarian aid into this small territory.

The Israeli army said on Saturday that it had struck “dozens of terrorist targets” including a “launch base in Beit Hanoun”, in northern Gaza, “shortly after a missile was intercepted , in the area to the (Israeli) town of Sderot”.

According to civil defense in Gaza, an Israeli strike killed nine members of the same family in Rafah, in the south of the territory, where more than a million and a half displaced Palestinians are massed according to the 'UN.

In this context, Hamas leader Ismaïl Haniyeh arrived in Turkey on Friday evening and is to be received by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a time when Qatar says it wants to “reassess” its role as mediator in the conflict in Gaza.

Qatar, which is stalling in the negotiation of a truce between Hamas and Israel, is threatening to withdraw under criticism from Israel and certain American Democrats. However, Turkey, which has relations with Israel and Hamas, could take advantage of this to try to resume mediation.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116