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Israel vows 'response' to Iranian attack, continues bombing Gaza

Photo: Kareem Hana Associated Press Following a rumor that the Israeli army was allowing displaced people to return to northern Gaza, thousands of them headed back on Sunday.

France Media Agency in the Palestinian territories

April 15, 2024

  • Middle East

The Israeli army on Monday promised “a response” to the massive and unprecedented attack launched by Iran, despite calls from many countries, led by the United States, to avoid a conflagration in the Middle East, where war rages in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the international community to “remain united” in the face of “Iranian aggression, which threatens world peace”, after this attack was foiled with the support of several of its allies, including Washington.

Israel will “retaliate for the launching of so many missiles, cruise missiles and drones on the territory of the State of Israel,” the army chief of staff said, General Herzi Halevi, visiting the Nevatim base in the south of the country.

But since Sunday, calls have been increasing around the world to prevent a massive response, which would risk igniting the region, already “on the edge of the precipice”, according to the UN Secretary General, António Guterres.

US President Joe Biden, Israel's most powerful ally, said on Monday he wanted to avoid an escalation.

“Together, with our partners, we defeated this Iranian attack,” he declared, while saying that he was working “in favor of a ceasefire” in Gaza, “which will bring the hostages home and prevent the conflict from spreading further than it already has.”

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The Israeli army bombed the Gaza Strip on Monday, after asserting that the Iranian attack would not cause it to deviate from its objectives against Hamas, an ally of Iran, the target of its offensive carried out for more than six months in the Palestinian territory.

“Whenever we choose”

During Saturday night, Iran for the first time launched a direct attack against Israel, in response to a strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1, attributed to Israel, which killed seven members of the Revolutionary Guards.

Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said Monday that the victims of the strike were “terrorists” acting against Israel.

Israel announced that it had thwarted the Iranian attack with 350 drones and missiles, almost all of which were intercepted by Israeli air defenses with the help of the United States and other allied countries including France and the United Kingdom, but also Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Iran said it considered “the matter closed” and warned Israel, its sworn enemy, against any “reckless behavior” that would trigger a “much stronger” reaction from it.

The Israeli war cabinet chaired by Benjamin Netanyahu, under great pressure to avoid an escalation, met on Sunday then Monday, without a decision being announced on the form that a response could take.

“We will do whatever is necessary to protect the State of Israel, and we will do so on the occasion and at the time we choose,” Admiral Hagari said Monday at the Nevatim base.< /p>

The army released a short video showing a shallow crater along a wall caused by the impact of an Iranian projectile as it fell on the base.

No to escalation, yes to defense

After standing with its allies against the Iranian attack, the United States said it did not want “an extended war with Iran” and warned that it would not participate in a retaliatory operation.

Washington does not want an “escalation” with Iran, but will continue to “defend Israel”, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday, while the White House qualified the Iranian attack “spectacular failure”.

The United Kingdom and France have also distanced themselves. The head of British diplomacy, David Cameron, ruled out his country's participation in a response and French President Emmanuel Macron called for avoiding a regional “conflagration”.

Since the start of the Gaza war on October 7, tensions have continued to escalate in the Middle East, involving Israel and Iran, enemies since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and their respective allies.

The Islamic Republic, which calls for the destruction of Israel, had until now refrained from attacking it head-on and the two countries were used to confronting each other through third parties, as the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Yemeni Houthi rebels, allies of Iran.

On Monday, the Israeli army announced that four soldiers had been injured in Lebanese territory. Hezbollah had previously claimed to have activated “explosive devices” when Israeli soldiers crossed the border.

The Golden Gate Blocked

In the Gaza Strip, dozens of Israeli raids struck the Khan Younes sector in the South before dawn on Monday, where 18 bodies were recovered from the rubble, according to Civil Defense.

Benjamin Netanyahu maintains his plan for a ground offensive against the neighboring town of Rafah, on the border with Egypt, which he presents as the last major bastion of Hamas and where, according to the army, hostages are being held. And this, despite warnings from the international community, which fears a bloodbath in this city which has become a refuge for a million and a half Palestinians, most of them displaced.

The war was triggered by an unprecedented attack carried out on October 7 by the Islamist movement from Gaza, which left 1,170 dead, mostly civilians, according to a report from Agence France-Presse established based on official Israeli data. More than 250 people have been kidnapped and 129 remain held in Gaza, 34 of whom have died according to Israeli officials.

In retaliation, Israel promised to destroy Hamas, in power in Gaza since 2007, which it considers a terrorist organization along with the United States, Canada and the European Union.

Its army launched an offensive that has left 33,797 dead in the Palestinian territory so far, including 68 in 24 hours, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.

On Monday in the United States, pro-Palestinian protesters blocked the Golden Gate Bridge, the iconic bridge in the city of San Francisco, and unfurled a banner reading “Stop the world for Gaza.”

This protest is part of an initiative called “A15 Action”, which seeks to blockade many major cities around the world, “in solidarity with Palestine.”

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