Israel: A response would be forthcoming

Israel's war cabinet convened for the third consecutive day on Tuesday to deliberate on an appropriate course of action in response to Iran's unprecedented direct attack.

Israel’s war cabinet convened for the third consecutive day on Tuesday to deliberate on an appropriate course of action in response to Iran’s unprecedented direct attack. The international community has exerted pressure to prevent further escalation of conflicts in the Middle East.

Following the launch of over 300 missiles, cruise missiles, and drones from Iran into Israeli territory on Saturday night, Israel’s military chief of staff, Herzi Halevi, assured that a response would be forthcoming without divulging any specifics. Although the attack resulted in no casualties and minimal damage due to Israel and its allies’ robust air defenses and countermeasures, it has raised concerns about the expanding violence stemming from the Gaza war and the potential for an all-out war between these longstanding adversaries.

Iran carried out this attack in retaliation for an airstrike on its embassy compound in Damascus on April 1, which was attributed to Israel. However, Iran has indicated that it does not seek further escalation. During a conversation over the weekend, President Joe Biden informed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the United States, Israel’s primary ally, would not participate in an Israeli counter-strike.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz has taken the initiative to launch a diplomatic offensive by reaching out to 32 countries, urging them to impose sanctions on Iran’s missile program. In addition, he is advocating for these nations to follow the lead of Washington in designating the Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s dominant military force, as a terrorist group. This concerted effort aims to curb Iran’s aggressive actions and ensure regional stability.

Recognizing the urgency of the situation, EU foreign ministers have scheduled a video meeting to discuss the developments in the Middle East. This gathering highlights the importance of coordinating efforts and finding effective solutions to the challenges posed by Iran. Germany, along with France and other EU partners, actively campaigned last autumn to extend the existing European Union sanctions regime targeting Iran’s drone production. Now, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has revealed that several EU members have pledged to reassess the extension of these sanctions.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani emphasized on state TV that Tehran’s reaction to any Israeli counterattack would be swift, as Iran will not delay its response for another 12 days. The possibility of Israeli retaliation has caused concern among many Iranians who are already facing economic hardships and increased social and political restrictions following the protests in 2022-23.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby refrained from confirming whether President Biden had urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to show restraint in responding to Iran during their discussions on Saturday night. Kirby stated during a briefing that the U.S. does not want to see a war with Iran or a regional conflict, emphasizing that it is up to Israel to determine how they will react.

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