The Hamilton Spectator

Israel vows to defend itself if Iran retaliates


Israel’s military said Thursday it is prepared to defend the country and strike back if Iran decides to retaliate for a deadly airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Syria.

Tehran holds Israel responsibl­e for the attack earlier this month, which the U.S. military believes Israel carried out. Israel has not commented on it. The increased tensions have sparked internatio­nal concern that Israel’s devastatin­g war against Hamas in Gaza could spill over into the rest of the Middle East.

Six months of fighting in Gaza have pushed the tiny Palestinia­n territory into a humanitari­an crisis, leaving more than 1 million people on the brink of starvation. The head of the U.S. Agency for Internatio­nal Developmen­t, Samantha Power, told lawmakers Wednesday she accepted “credible” reports that famine is now occurring in hard-hit northern Gaza. U.S. 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 twothirds of the dead.

In Jerusalem on Thursday, Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jewish men protested over a court ruling that could end their exemptions from mandatory service in the Israeli military.

Carrying signs that read “to jail, not to the army,” they rallied in front of Israel’s military enlistment office. There were scuffles between police and some of the protesters. Israel’s Supreme Court last month ordered an end to government subsidies for many ultra-Orthodox men who do not serve in the army.

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