Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

Israel on high alert after US warns of Iran attack

Days after Israel strengthen­ed its air defences, the US has warned it of the risk of an attack by Iran or its allied groups

- Agence France-Presse letters@hindustant­imes.com

TEL AVIV: Israel was on alert on Thursday after its arch foe Iran threatened reprisals over a strike in Syria this month that killed two Iranian generals, and as the war against Hamas ground on in Gaza.

Days after Israel strengthen­ed its air defences and paused leave for combat units, the US also warned of the risk of an attack by Iran or its allied groups at a time Middle East tensions have soared.

Iran is “threatenin­g to launch a significan­t attack on Israel”, US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday, pledging “ironclad” support for its top regional ally despite diplomatic tensions over Israel’s military conduct in Gaza.

Israel was widely blamed for an April 1 attack that destroyed Iran’s consulate building in Damascus and killed seven Revolution­ary Guards, including two generals.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned on Wednesday that Israel “must be punished and will be punished”, days after one of his advisers said Israeli embassies are “no longer safe”.

Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz swiftly replied on social media site X that “if Iran attacks from its territory, Israel will respond and attack Iran”.

Biden said he had told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “our commitment to Israel’s security against these threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad”. The Axios news site reported that US Central Command chief Michael Kurilla was to visit Israel to discuss the situation with defence minister Yoav Gallant.

Moscow called on both Iran and Israel to exercise restraint, after earlier warning Russians to refrain from travelling to Israel, Lebanon and the Palestinia­n territorie­s. German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock on X, formerly Twitter, urged “maximum restraint”.

UNSC asks Israel to do ‘more’ on Gaza aid

The UN Security Council (UNSC) on Thursday acknowledg­ed Israel’s pledge to open more entry points to allow humanitari­an aid into Gaza but said “more should be done” to help civilians in the besieged Palestinia­n territory.

In a statement, council members “took note of the announceme­nt by Israel to open the Erez (border) crossing and allow the use of the Ashdod port for aid deliveries into Gaza, but stressed that more should be done to bring the required relief given the scale of needs in Gaza”.

The war in Gaza broke out after Hamas launched their October 7 attack against Israel, which left 1,170 people dead, mostly civilians, according to Israeli figures.

Palestinia­n militants also took about 250 hostages, 129 of whom remain in Gaza, including 34 the Israeli army says are dead. Iran has said it had no advance knowledge of October’s attack.

Israel’s retaliator­y offensive has killed at least 33,545 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamasrun territory’s health ministry.

 ?? REUTERS ?? Israeli tanks and armoured personnel carriers manoeuvre on their way to Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, near the Israel-Gaza border, on Wednesday.
REUTERS Israeli tanks and armoured personnel carriers manoeuvre on their way to Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, near the Israel-Gaza border, on Wednesday.

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