HomeStock MarketAllies urge Israel to show restraint after Iranian attack By Reuters

Allies urge Israel to show restraint after Iranian attack By Reuters

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By James Mackenzie

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israel faced pressure from allies on Monday to show restraint and avoid an escalation of conflict in the Middle East as it considered how to respond to Iran’s weekend missile and drone attack.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned his war cabinet for the second time in less than 24 hours, a government source said. Two senior officials signalled on Sunday that retaliation was not imminent and Israel would not act alone but the results of Monday’s talks were not yet known.

Israel’s military chief of staff said the country would respond to the Iranian attack.

“This launch of so many missiles, cruise missiles, and drones into Israeli territory will be met with a response,” Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said, speaking from the Nevatim air force base in southern Israel, which sustained some damage in the attack.

Iran’s attack – made in retaliation for a suspected Israeli airstrike on its embassy compound in Damascus – has increased fears of open warfare between Israel and Iran and heightened concerns that violence rooted in the Gaza war is spreading further in the region.

Wary of the dangers, President Joe Biden has told Netanyahu the United States will not take part in any Israeli counter-offensive against Iran.

Since the start of the war in Gaza on Oct. 7, clashes have erupted between Israel and Iran-aligned groups in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq. Israel said four of its soldiers were wounded hundreds of metres inside Lebanese territory overnight.

It appeared to be the first such known incident since the Gaza war erupted, although there have been months of exchanges of fire between Israel and Lebanon’s armed group Hezbollah.

“We’re on the edge of the cliff and we have to move away from it,” Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign affairs chief, told Spanish radio station Onda Cero. “We have to step on the brakes and reverse gear.”

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron made similar appeals. Washington and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have also issued calls for restraint.

Countries including France, Belgium and Germany summoned the Iranian ambassadors. The French foreign ministry said France was working with its partners to de-escalate the situation.

Russia has refrained from criticising its ally Iran inpublic over the strikes but expressed concern about the risk of escalation on Monday and also called for restraint.

“Further escalation is in no one’s interests,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Iran mounted the attack in response to a suspected Israeli airstrike on its embassy compound in Syria on April 1 that killed seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers, including two senior commanders.

Its attack, involving more than 300 missiles and drones, caused only modest damage in Israel and no deaths. Most were shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome defence system and with help from the U.S., Britain, France and Jordan.

In Gaza itself, where more than 33,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli offensive according to Gaza Health Ministry figures, Iran’s action has drawn applause.

Israel began its campaign against Hamas after the Palestinian militant group attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and taking 253 hostages by Israeli tallies.

G7 MULLS SANCTIONS

In Washington, Biden reiterated U.S. commitment to Israel’s security ahead of a meeting with Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani.

Sudani, speaking alongside Biden, said their views may be divergent about what is happening in the region but they wanted to stop the conflict from expanding.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the Group of Seven major democracies were working on a package of coordinated measures against Iran.

“I spoke to my fellow G7 leaders, we are united in our condemnation of this attack,” Sunak said in parliament.

Italy, which holds the rotating presidency of the G7, said it was open to new sanctions against individuals engaged against Israel.

In an interview with Reuters, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said new sanctions would need the backing of all the G7. He suggested any new measures would be focused on individuals rather than whole nations.

“If we need to have more sanctions for people clearly engaged against Israel, supporting for example terrorism, supporting Hamas, it is possible to do it,” Tajani said.

Iran’s attack has caused travel disruption, with at least a dozen airlines cancelling or rerouting flights, and Europe’s aviation regulator reaffirming advice to airlines to use caution in Israeli and Iranian airspace.

Israel remained on high alert, but authorities lifted some emergency measures that had included a ban on some school activities and caps on large gatherings.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said Tehran had informed the United States that the attack on Israel would be limited and for self-defence, and that regional neighbours had been informed of the planned strikes 72 hours in advance.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said on Monday, however, that no pre-arranged agreement was made with any country prior to the weekend attack. U.S. officials said Tehran had not warned Washington.



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