War in the Middle East: UN chief sees the Middle East on the brink of the abyss

After Iran's unprecedented attack on Israel, the Jewish state reserves the right to respond militarily.

War in the Middle East: UN chief sees the Middle East on the brink of the abyss

After Iran's unprecedented attack on Israel, the Jewish state reserves the right to respond militarily. Iran has "crossed every red line," said Israel's representative to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, at a special session of the UN Security Council in New York. According to his own statement, his country now has the right to retaliate.

According to a media report, several scenarios for reactions to the major Iranian attack were discussed during the deliberations of the Israeli War Cabinet. Some of the options are minor in nature, while others are more intense, Israel's Channel 12 reported. Israel's goal is to harm Iran, but not to trigger an all-out war. According to Israeli Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, there will be an answer.

At the almost three-hour meeting of the committee chaired by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, various reactions of varying degrees were put on the table, the TV station reported. Some of the options can therefore be implemented immediately.

During discussions about a response to Tehran's attack at the weekend, it was also discussed that Israel wanted to coordinate the measures with its most important ally, the USA.

Iran publishes data on missiles and drones

For the first time in the history of the Islamic Republic, Iran directly attacked its declared arch-enemy Israel. Israel's army reported around 300 rockets, drones and cruise missiles, almost all of which were intercepted. Iran portrayed the attack as retaliation for the killing of senior officers in Syria.

After the major attack on Israel, Iran's state media published information about the missiles used. According to information from the state agency Irna, medium-range missiles of the “Emad” and “Cheibarschekan” types were used. The modern version of the latter has a range of a good 1,800 kilometers.

According to the report, Iran's Revolutionary Guards also fired "Paweh" cruise missiles at Israel in the operation called "Sincere Promise." According to the state agency, they should be able to fly up to 900 kilometers per hour.

The drones used in the retaliatory strike were of the Shahed 136 type. These are the same kamikaze drones that Russia uses in the fight against Ukraine. They are characterized above all by their inexpensive construction.

USA: Reports of Iran's warnings are "nonsense"

According to Washington, Iran did not inform the US government about the timing, sequence and scope of its attack on Israel. The communications director of the US government's National Security Council, John Kirby, firmly rejected such reports.

Reports that Iran's "spectacular and embarrassing failure" was intentional and that Iran issued an early warning to help Israel prepare its defenses and limit the potential damage are all "categorically false." "This is nonsense. This attack failed because it was defeated by Israel, the United States and a coalition of other partners committed to Israel's defense."

Air strike on Iranian embassy in Syria

On April 1, two brigadier generals were killed in a suspected Israeli-led airstrike on the Iranian embassy compound in Syria's capital Damascus. Iranian UN Ambassador Amir Saeid Iravani said at the special session of the most powerful UN body that the Islamic Republic had exercised its right to self-defense: "These actions were necessary and proportionate."

Israel's representative Erdan countered: "We are not a frog in boiling water. We are a land of lions. After such a massive and direct attack on Israel, the whole world - and Israel most of all - cannot remain passive. We will defend our future ."

USA: Think carefully about risks of escalation

According to a statement from Washington, US President Joe Biden urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to carefully consider a possible retaliatory strike against Iran and its consequences. Biden made it "very clear" to Netanyahu in a phone call that they needed to "think carefully and strategically about the risks of escalation," said a high-ranking US government official in Washington. The USA, as Israel's most important ally, had helped repel Iran's major attack against Israel.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has also called on Israel to contribute to de-escalation. The largely successful defense of around 300 drones and missiles is "a success that perhaps should not be wasted," said Scholz in Shanghai. “Hence our advice to contribute to de-escalation yourself.”

Scholz also again warned Iran. The first-ever attack on Israeli territory was a "bad escalation" that should not have happened, he said. “Iran cannot continue to treat this like this.”

The Russian leadership has also called on Israel and Iran to show restraint in their conflict. Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev stressed "the need for restraint on all sides of the conflict in the Middle East to prevent its escalation," Russian state agencies reported. Patrushev emphasized that Russia was of the opinion that "disagreements should be resolved exclusively through political and diplomatic means."

Iran warns of counterattack

Iran's National Security Council warned Israel against a military response. “If the Zionist regime wants to continue its viciousness against Iran, it will receive a response that is at least ten times greater than the recent attack,” the Nur News portal quoted a council statement as saying. Iran chose the least form of punishment for Israel and only attacked military facilities.

Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari described the drone and missile attack on Israel as an unprecedented attack that was met with an equally unprecedented defense. Israel had support from the USA, Great Britain, France and Jordan. The US armed forces alone had destroyed more than 80 drones and at least six ballistic missiles that were intended to attack Israel, the US regional command Centcom said on the X platform, formerly Twitter.

“We remain on high alert and assessing the situation,” emphasized Hagari. "In the last few hours we have approved operational plans for attack and defense measures." Before the War Cabinet meeting, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in an interview with Army Radio: "We said: If Iran attacks Israel, we will attack in Iran. And this commitment is still valid."

Iran's Foreign Minister speaks with Borrell and his counterparts

In discussions with several counterparts, Iran's foreign minister described his country's major attack on Israel as a "legitimate defense." In a telephone conversation with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, Hussein Amirabdollahian again criticized the alleged Israeli attack on Iran's embassy compound in Syria at the beginning of April, his ministry announced on Sunday. After the UN's inaction, Iran "had no choice but to punish the Zionist regime as part of its legitimate defense," it said.

Amirabdollahian also spoke again with Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, as the Isna news agency reported. In the conversation, the minister said that the attack on Israel was a warning to understand the consequences of crossing red lines. "If the Israeli regime wants to continue its adventurism, there will be an immediate and far-reaching response," Amirabdollahian said, according to Isna.

Report: Hamas presents counterproposal for hostage deal

Hagari went on to say that Israel had not lost sight of its mission in the Gaza Strip to "free our hostages from the hands of the Iranian proxy Hamas." Hamas rejected a compromise proposal from the mediators for a hostage deal. The Islamist organization and Iran wanted to cause turmoil in the Middle East, said Hagari.

Meanwhile, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Hamas had presented the mediators with a counter-proposal for a hostage agreement. This only provides for the release of Israeli hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prisons and a gradual withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza after a 42-day ceasefire, the newspaper wrote, citing Palestinian and Arab sources.

Calls for Israeli troops to withdraw from Gaza

The Israeli military would therefore stop fighting in an initial six-week phase and withdraw from the urban centers to the periphery of the sealed-off coastal area. At the same time, displaced Palestinians would be allowed to return to the northern Gaza Strip, it said.

During this time, Hamas wants to search for all hostages in the contested area and find out what condition they are in. In a second phase, Israel's army would have to withdraw into Israeli territory. Only then would the exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners begin, it was said.

Israel's leadership had previously assumed that just under 100 of the approximately 130 hostages remaining in Gaza were still alive. But now there are fears that significantly more could be dead. Israel wants to keep open the possibility of continuing fighting after a ceasefire.

Israeli soldiers injured in Lebanese territory

Meanwhile, according to a media report, an explosion with four injured Israeli soldiers occurred up to a hundred meters into Lebanese territory. This was reported by the news site ynet, citing an Israeli army spokesman.

The Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the incident. A statement said several explosive devices were planted in the Tal Ismail area in Lebanese territory, not far from the border with Israel. When the Israeli soldiers got close to the explosives, they exploded.

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