Israel vows to defend itself against looming Iranian attack

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Israel’s military said on Thursday it was prepared defend itself and strike Iran if it retaliates for a deadly airstrike on the Iranian Consulate in Syria. 

Seven people, including two Iranian generals and five officers, were killed on the April one attack on the Iranian Consulate, according to Syrian and Iranian officials. 

Tehran holds Israel responsible for the attack, which the US military believes Israel carried out. Israel has not commented on the matter. 

Israel has called up additional air defence units and activated other troops in anticipation of an attack by either Iran or the many proxy militant groups it supports in the region.

The army’s chief spokesman Daniel Hagari told reporters on Thursday that an attack from Iranian territory “would be clear proof of Iranian intentions to escalate the Middle East and stop hiding behind the proxies.”

Israel has improved its offensive and defensive capabilities in recent months and “we will know how to act where needed,” he said, adding the head of the US military’s Central Command Erik Kurilla arrived in Israel for a strategic assessment with Israeli military leaders.

US President Joe Biden said this week that US commitment to Israel’s security remains ironclad.

President Joe Biden, left, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a meeting in the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 11, 2024.

Increased tensions have sparked international concern that Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza could spill out into the Middle East.

Six months of fighting in Gaza have pushed the Palestinian territory into a humanitarian crisis, leaving more than one million people on the brink of starvation. 

Head of the US Agency for International Development, Samantha Power, told lawmakers on Wednesday she accepted “credible” reports that famine is now occurring in hard-hit northern Gaza. President Joe Biden said this week that Israel is not doing enough to increase the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Israeli bombardments and ground offensives have killed at least 33,360 Palestinians in Gaza and wounded 74,993, the Health Ministry says. The ministry doesn’t differentiate between civilians and combatants in its tally, but says women and children make up two-thirds of the dead.

The war started on October 7 when Hamas killed 1,200 Israeli’s in a surprise attack, mostly civilians. Palestinian militants took around 250 people hostage.

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