Israel reserves 'right to protect itself' after Iran attack: Netanyahu (2024)

JERUSALEM: Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country reserved the right to protect itself after Iran's unprecedented attack, and that it alone would decide how to do so.

Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel over the weekend in an attack that caused little damage after most of the projectiles were intercepted.

The Israeli military has vowed to respond, prompting a diplomatic flurry aimed at calming the Middle East.

Israel's allies in Washington and Brussels have pledged to ramp up sanctions against Iran, while British Foreign Secretary David Cameron and his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock became the first Western envoys to visit Israel since the attack.

Netanyahu told the visiting ministers that Israel "will reserve the right to protect itself," his office said.

The pair offered "all kinds of suggestions and advice" during a meeting, Netanyahu said. "However, I would also like to clarify: we will make our decisions ourselves."

For his part, Cameron said "we're very anxious to avoid escalation and to say to our friends in Israel: It's a time to think with head as well as heart."

Baerbock emphasised that "the region must not slide into a situation whose outcome is completely unpredictable."

Tehran has vowed to hit back if its arch-foe Israel responds to the Saturday attack, which itself was launched after a deadly strike on Iran's Damascus consulate building earlier this month that was widely blamed on Israel.

Citing three unnamed Israeli sources, ABC News reported on Thursday that "Israel prepared for and then aborted retaliatory strikes against Iran on at least two nights this past week."

Among the range of possible reactions considered by the Israeli war cabinet were options to attack Iranian proxies elsewhere in the region or to conduct a cyberattack, the sources told ABC.

Meanwhile, the war in Gaza that has sent regional tensions soaring continued unabated with efforts at a truce appearing to flounder, as key mediator Qatar said it was re-evaluating its role in the stalling negotiations.

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi warned after the attack of "a fierce and severe response" to any retaliation, and on Wednesday his country celebrated its annual Army Day with a parade featuring various attack drones and long-range missiles.

Also on Wednesday, Tehran-backed Hezbollah wounded 14 soldiers, six seriously, in a strike on northern Israel, the Israeli army said.

This was the third day in a row the Lebanese militant group had wounded people in Israel, amid near-daily cross-border fire since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

Later, Israel hit targets in eastern Lebanon, far from the border, a Hezbollah source told AFP.

Israel's top ally the United States has made clear it won't join any attack on Iran, vowing instead to level more sanctions against the country's missile and drone programme, its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Iranian defence ministry.

Nevertheless, on Wednesday US Republicans unveiled a bill that would provide US$26 billion of military aid to Israel which appeared to have White House backing.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Brussels was also working to expand sanctions against Iran, including its supply of drones and other weapons to Russia and to proxy groups around the Middle East.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the EU and its allies had a "duty... to expand these sanctions", while Baerbock said Berlin backed further sanctions.

Cameron also urged the G7 to adopt new "coordinated sanctions against Iran," ahead of a meeting with counterparts from the Western-led grouping in Italy.

The Israel-Iran tensions have threatened to overshadow the Gaza war, even as deadly bombardment and combat raged in the besieged territory.

Talks toward a truce and hostage release deal have stalled, said Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, despite months of effort also involving US and Egyptian officials.

He later said that his country was undertaking "a complete re-evaluation of its role because there has been damage to Qatar", which does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

The Israeli military said Wednesday its aircraft had "struck over 40 terror targets throughout the Gaza Strip" over the past day.

When one strike hit the southernmost city of Rafah, where 1.5 million Palestinians are sheltering, Jamalat Ramidan said she "woke up to the sounds of girls shouting 'mama, mama, mama'."

As she fled the carnage alongside the children, they stumbled over "body parts and corpses scattered all over the place," Ramidan told AFP.

Israel has faced growing global opposition to the relentless fighting in Gaza, which the United Nations and aid agencies have warned has pushed the north of the territory to the brink of famine.

But Netanyahu rejected any claims about famine on Wednesday, saying Israel is doing "above and beyond" what is needed "on the humanitarian issue," his office said.

The Israeli army said that eight trucks of food aid from the World Food Programme that arrived via Ashdod port in Israel had entered Gaza through an Israeli land crossing.

It is the first time UN aid has travelled through the sea port since Israel said it would open it earlier this month following international pressure.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council was preparing to vote Thursday on an Algeria-drafted resolution for full United Nations membership for a Palestinian state, diplomatic sources said.

However, the veto-wielding United States has repeatedly expressed opposition to the move.

-AFP

Israel reserves 'right to protect itself' after Iran attack: Netanyahu (2024)

FAQs

Who is more powerful, Iran or Israel? ›

Comparable army strength

Iran is ranked 14th in the global ranking, followed by Israel in 17th place. The index has also included a direct comparison of the two armed forces. According to this, Iran is superior to Israel in terms of personnel. The same also applies to the number of tanks and armed vehicles.

How did Iran respond to the Israel attack? ›

Iran responded with a barrage of more than 300 missiles and drones on April 13, the first direct attack ever launched against Israel from Iranian soil. Given the scale and unprecedented nature of Iran's attack, the Israeli response seems small.

Did Israel support Iran Iraq war? ›

Israel supported Iran during the war so that Iran could provide a counterweight to Iraq; to re-establish influence in Iran which Israel lost with the overthrow of the shah in 1979, and to create business for the Israeli weapons industry.

Does Iran recognize Israel as a country? ›

After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran severed all diplomatic and commercial ties with Israel, and its theocratic government does not recognize the legitimacy of Israel as a state.

Who has the strongest military in the world? ›

United States

What is the root cause of Iran Israel conflict? ›

Various reasons have been given for the Iran-Israel conflict. Iran and Israel had previously enjoyed warm ties due to common threats, but by 1990s the USSR had dissolved and Iraq had been weakened. Iranian Islamists have long championed the Palestinian people, whom they perceive as oppressed.

Why is Iran attacking Israel? ›

Iran's own direct attack on Israel - its first ever - was in turn retaliation for an Israeli strike on the Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital Damascus, which killed senior military commanders.

Why is Iran going to attack Israel? ›

Iran launched the unprecedented attack in response to a suspected Israeli strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria, earlier this month. It marked a new chapter in a discord between the two states that percolated for years and has spiralled since Israel declared war on Hamas last October.

Why did Israel not retaliate against Iraq? ›

During the Gulf War in 1991, without provocation, Iraq fired 42 Scud missiles at Israel, aiming to drag Israel into the war and thus imperil the US-led coalition, in which several Arab countries participated. Upon urging by the United States of Israel to stay out of the war, Israel did not retaliate.

What countries supported Iran-Iraq War? ›

Iraq's war effort was openly financed by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other neighbouring Arab states and was tacitly supported by the United States and the Soviet Union, while Iran's only major allies were Syria and Libya.

Why did Iraq invade Iran? ›

The Iraqi invasion of Iran began on 22 September 1980, sparking the Iran–Iraq War, and lasted until 5 December 1980. Iraq attacked under the impression that Iran would not be able to respond effectively due to internal socio-political turmoil caused by the country's Islamic Revolution one year earlier.

Which country has not accepted Israel? ›

28 UN member states do not recognize Israel: 15 members of the Arab League (Algeria, Comoros, Djibouti, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen); ten non-Arab members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, ...

Who gave Israel nuclear weapons? ›

In exchange, France would provide the nuclear reactor as the basis for the Israeli nuclear weapons program. Shimon Peres, sensing the opportunity on the nuclear reactor, accepted. On September 17, 1956, Peres and Bergmann reached a tentative agreement in Paris for the CEA to sell Israel a small research reactor.

Is Japan with Israel or Palestine? ›

General. Japan supports a two-state solution whereby Israel and a future independent Palestinian state live side by side in peace and security.

Who has a stronger military, Israel or Iran? ›

Iran's military is viewed as one of the strongest in the region in terms of equipment, cohesion, experience and quality of personnel, but it lags far behind the power and sophistication of the armed forces of the United States, Israel and some European countries, experts said.

Is Israel the most powerful country in the world? ›

The Economist ranked Israel as the 4th most successful economy among developed countries for 2022. The IMF estimated Israel's GDP at US$564 billion and its GDP per capita at US$58,270 in 2023 (13th highest in the world), a figure comparable to other highly developed countries.

Who is powerful in Iran? ›

The current lifetime officeholder, Seyyed Ali Hosseini Khameneh known as Ali Khamenei, has issued decrees and made the final decisions on the economy, the environment, foreign policy, education, national planning, and other aspects of governance in Iran.

Where does Iran rank in the world? ›

With a mostly Persian-ethnic population of almost 90 million in an area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), Iran ranks 17th globally in both geographic size and population. It is the sixth-largest country entirely in Asia, the second-largest in West Asia, and one of the world's most mountainous countries.

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