“We’ll Harm Them”: Israel PM Netanyahu Vows Strong Response To Iran Attack

“The IDF is strong. The public is strong,” said Mr Netanyahu.

New Delhi:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today said that his country has been preparing for a direct attack by Iran for years and will “harm” anyone who harms them. Iran last night. Iran late on Saturday launched a barrage of explosive drones and missiles directly targeting Israeli territory, in response to the bombing of Iran’s embassy in Syria’s capital Damascus earlier this month. 

“In recent years, and especially in recent weeks, Israel has been preparing for a direct attack by Iran. Our defensive systems are deployed; we are ready for any scenario, both defensively and offensively. The State of Israel is strong. The IDF is strong. The public is strong,” said Mr Netanyahu. 

Alongside Iran’s direct attack, its allies and proxies conducted coordinated assaults on Israeli positions, with sirens blaring in numerous areas and explosions heard above Jerusalem early Sunday. Iran had previously issued threats of retaliation against Israel following an April 1 airstrike on its consulate in Damascus, where seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) personnel, including two generals, were killed. The United States had repeatedly cautioned about imminent reprisals.

“We appreciate the US standing alongside Israel, as well as the support of Britain, France and many other countries. We have determined a clear principle: Whoever harms us, we will harm them. We will defend ourselves against any threat and will do so level-headedly and with determination,” Mr Netanyahu’s statement read. 

Hamas Rejected Peace Deal

Israel’s spy agency Mosaid today that the Palestinian militant group Hamas had rejected the latest proposal by international mediators for a truce in the war in Gaza.

Egypt, Qatar, and the US have previously acted as intermediaries in negotiations, yet a viable agreement has proven elusive. The mediators aimed to secure a ceasefire prior to the commencement of Ramadan, but progress halted.

On Friday, Mr Netanyahu sanctioned a fresh cycle of ceasefire discussions to take place in Doha and Cairo. His office announced that the Israeli Prime Minister had conversed with Mossad chief David Barnea regarding the talks, though it did not specify whether Mr Barnea would be journeying to either cities.

Approximately 250 hostages were taken by Hamas militants during the October 7 assaults on Israel that instigated the conflict. Israel estimates that 130 individuals, including 33 presumed dead, are still in captivity in Gaza.

“It has been over a week since the Cairo meeting – Hamas has rejected the outline that was tabled by the mediators,” the Israeli Pm’s office and Mossad said in a joint statement. 

“The rejection of the proposal by the three mediators, which included the most significant flexibility on Israel’s part, proves that (Yahya) Sinwar does not want a humanitarian deal and the return of the hostages, is continuing to exploit the tension with Iran and is striving to unite the sectors and achieve a general escalation in the region,” it added. 

In a televised statement, military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari confirmed Iran’s launch of UAVs towards Israeli territory, emphasizing close cooperation with the U.S. and regional partners to counter the attacks.

Regional Dynamics 

Residents in Jerusalem sought shelter, with some stocking up on supplies. US President Joe Biden reiterated unwavering support for Israel after urgent discussions with his top security officials.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards confirmed the drone and missile strike in retaliation for the Damascus attack. Ballistic missiles were fired following the slower-moving drones.

In Tehran, hundreds gathered to celebrate the military action against Israel, waving Iranian and Palestinian flags.

The Israeli army reported the launch of a large swarm of drones and missiles by Iran, with the majority intercepted. Fighter jets were deployed to counter all aerial threats.

Iran’s allies in the region, including Yemen’s Huthi rebels and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, joined the attack. The UK, France, and Egypt condemned Iran’s actions, while Saudi Arabia called for restraint.

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