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Dengue is sweeping through the Americas early this year

Dengue is sweeping through the Americas early this year

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Dengue is sweeping through the Americas early this year

 Dengue is surging across the Americas early this year from Puerto Rico to Brazil, with 3.5 million cases of the tropical disease reported so far, health officials said Thursday.

That tally is three times the number of cases reported at this point last year, said Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, director of the Pan American Health Organization, the regional office of the World Health Organization in the Americas.

Last year, there were a record 4.5 million cases in the region, and PAHO officials said they expect this year will set a new record.

Usually dengue spikes during the wet season, which is still months away. And some areas are reporting dengue for the first time, officials said.

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The dengue virus is spread to people when they are bitten by infected mosquitoes. Driving the surge are rising temperatures, rapid urbanization, droughts and floods linked to climate change, and poor sanitation and a lack of robust health systems in some countries, health officials said.

The virus can cause crushing headaches, fever, vomiting, a rash and other symptoms. While most infected people don’t get symptoms, severe cases can lead to death. There’s no specific treatment other than pain medications.

Most of the current cases are in the Southern Hemisphere, with more than 80% in Brazil, followed by Paraguay, Argentina, Peru and Colombia. Some 1,000 deaths have been reported in the Americas so far this year.

In the Caribbean alone, more than 25,000 cases have been reported, with French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic most affected, said Dr. Rhonda Sealey-Thomas, PAHO’s assistant director.

On Monday, Puerto Rico’s health secretary declared an epidemic, with more than 540 cases, with at least 341 people hospitalized. The numbers are concerning because parts of the island are currently under a moderate drought, and the rainiest month isn’t until August.

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The surge in cases forced Rio de Janeiro to declare a public health emergency last month ahead of Carnival. Peru did the same for most of its provinces, and others have followed suit.

There are four different dengue viruses circulating in the Americas, said the PAHO’s Dr. Sylvain Aldighieri. “We have to be prepared for this.”

Some countries have released specially bred mosquitoes that contain a bacteria called Wolbachia that fights dengue.

Last month, Josian Bruno, who lives in the San Juan capital of Puerto Rico, developed a fever and body aches. A lab test confirmed that the 38-year-old had kidney failure because of severe dehydration. He spent six days in the hospital, and the day after being released, his test results came back positive for dengue.

“When they tell you it’s renal failure, that’s scary,” he said.

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A month has passed, and Bruno still has difficulty moving his arms and walking, and he hasn’t been able to resume his thrice-weekly runs.

While a new dengue vaccine is available in limited supply, it requires two doses with a three-month interval. Barbosa said officials are monitoring how well it actually works. He said a single-shot vaccine won’t be available until next year.

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Hezbollah source says Israel struck position in east Lebanon

Hezbollah source says Israel struck position in east Lebanon

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Hezbollah source says Israel struck position in east Lebanon

A Hezbollah source said Israel struck Sunday one of the Iran-backed group’s buildings in Lebanon’s east, close to the Syrian border, as tensions soared after Iran directly attacked Israel.

“The Israeli strike targeted an area… near Baalbek and targeted a two-storey building belonging to Hezbollah,” a source within the Lebanese group told AFP, adding there were no casualties.

Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported that “an enemy air strike targeted a building” in the village of Nabi Sheet and “destroyed it”.

An AFP photographer at the site saw the concrete and steel wreckage of the building, levelled in the attack.

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Earlier on Sunday, Hezbollah said it had twice launched barrages of rockets towards the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights, after it joined in the major Iranian drone and missile attack against Israel.

The Iranian attack was in response to an April 1 air strike widely blamed on Israel that destroyed an Iranian consulate building in Damascus, killing seven Revolutionary Guards, including two generals.

Hamas ally Hezbollah has exchanged near-daily cross-border fire with Israel since the Palestinian militant group attacked southern Israel on October 7 triggering the war in the Gaza Strip.

The violence, which has largely been contained to the border area, has so far killed at least 363 people in Lebanon, mostly Hezbollah fighters but also including at least 70 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

In Israel, the military says 10 soldiers and eight civilians have been killed.

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Tens of thousands of civilians have fled their homes on both sides of the border. 

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Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon reopen airspace after Iran attacks

Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon reopen airspace after Iran attacks

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Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon reopen airspace after Iran attacks

Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon have reopened their airspace after closing it late on Saturday as Iran launched drone and missile attacks against Israel, the three countries said on Sunday.

Jordan’s state TV said the country had resumed air traffic operations, citing aviation authorities. The opening of its airspace came more than three hours earlier than scheduled.

Iraq’s aviation authority said security risks had now been overcome.

Lebanon said its airport will resume its activities after the overnight closure, state TV reported.

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Iran launched explosive drones and fired missiles at Israel late on Saturday – its first direct attack on Israeli territory in a retaliatory strike that raises the threat of wider regional conflict.

Jordan, which lies between Iran and Israel, had readied air defences to intercept any drones or missiles that violated its territory, two regional security sources said.

US and British warplanes were involved in shooting down some Israel-bound drones over the Iraq-Syria border area, Israel’s Channel 12 reported. 

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US bases would be targeted if colludes with Israel — Iran

US bases would be targeted if colludes with Israel — Iran

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US bases would be targeted if colludes with Israel — Iran

Iran’s drone attack on Israel puts region on edge

Iran initiated retaliatory strikes against Israel late on Saturday, deploying over 200 drones and missiles in the attack.

The Iranian retaliation was triggered by an Israeli air strike in Syria, which claimed the lives of prominent Iranian generals.

The barrage of drones and missiles marks the first instance of Iran launching an attack directly from its own territory against Israel.

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The attack has sparked concerns among those who fear that Israel’s potential response against Iran could trigger yet another escalation in the already volatile region.

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Iran’s top military general says a message has been sent to the United States through Switzerland, warning against colluding with Israel in its possible offensive against Iran.

Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, chief of the general staff of Iran’s armed forces, told reporters in Tehran that Washington has been informed if it gets together with Israel in its possible further military actions against Iran, American bases in the region won’t be safe.

Israeli war cabinet to meet at 1230 GMT: Israeli official

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Israel’s war cabinet is due to meet at 3:30 pm (1230 GMT) to discuss a response to the drone and missile attack launched by Iran overnight, an Israeli official said.

Biden tells Netanyahu US not to engage in offensive operations against Iran: Report

US President Joe Biden has reportedly told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a phone call that the US will not support any Israeli counterattack against Iran, according to a senior White House official.

“You got a win. Take the win,” Biden also advised Netanyahu to acknowledge their victory, highlighting the effectiveness of their joint defensive endeavours, Axios website quoted the White House official as saying.

Also, according to CNN, a senior administration official disclosed on Sunday that Joe Biden conveyed to Benjamin Netanyahu during a phone call on Saturday that the US would not engage in offensive operations against Iran.

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Iran’s Raisi vows ‘stronger response’ to any ‘reckless’ Israeli move

Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi warned Israel and its allies against any “reckless” actions after Tehran’s drone and missile attack in retaliation for a deadly strike on its Damascus consulate.

“If the Zionist regime (Israel) or its supporters demonstrate reckless behaviour, they will receive a decisive and much stronger response,” Raisi said in a statement.

Threat to strike Iran ‘still effective,’ says Israeli foreign minister

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that Tel Aviv’s threat to attack Iran after its retaliatory response Saturday night is “still effective.”

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In an interview with Army Radio, Katz said: “We said that if Iran attacks Israel, we will attack it back, and this is still effective.”

“We need to deepen our cooperation with our allies,” he said, adding: “I will lead a political attack against Iran.”

The foreign minister claimed that Tel Aviv on Saturday “received dozens of requests for support from the world,” without providing any further details.

Meanwhile, Immigration Minister Ofir Sofer told the Israeli Army Radio that “Iran’s audacity in such an attack must be erased.”

Hamas considers Iran’s response to Israel ‘natural right’

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The Palestinian resistance group Hamas said the Iranian military response to Israel was a “natural right” for Tehran after Tel Aviv targeted its mission in the Syrian capital, Damascus, in early April.

In a statement, the group said that it considered “the military operation carried out by Iran against the occupying Zionist entity (Israel) a natural right and a deserved response to the crime of targeting the Iranian consulate in Damascus and assassinating a number of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps leaders there.”

Hamas stressed “the natural right of countries and peoples of the region to defend themselves against Zionist attacks.”

The movement called on “the Arab and Islamic nations, and the resistance forces in the region to continue their support for the Al Aqsa Flood Operation, and for the right of our Palestinian people to freedom, independence, and the establishment of their Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

Iran says won’t hesitate in taking further defensive measures to protect ‘legitimate’ interests

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Iran said on Sunday that it won’t hesitate in taking further defensive measures to protect its “legitimate” interests against any “aggressive” military actions.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry reaffirmed its adherence to the principles and objectives of the United Nations Charter and international law, according to the semi-official Mehr News Agency.

The ministry reiterated Iran’s determination to “decisively defend its sovereignty, territorial integrity and national interests against any illegal order to use force and aggression.”

It also stressed that “Tehran’s resort to defensive measures in exercising the right to self-defence shows the responsible approach taken by Iran towards regional and international peace and security.”

“If necessary, we will not hesitate to take further defensive measures to protect Iranian legitimate interests against any aggressive military actions and illegal use of force,” it added.

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Arab nations, Israel resume flights amid regional tensions

Several Arab countries and Israel announced the reopening of their airspace and the resumption of airport operations after a temporary suspension due to the Iranian attack on Israel.

The Lebanese Ministry of Public Works and Transport declared the reopening of its airspace to all arriving, departing, and transiting aircraft following a closure prompted by regional developments.

Similarly, the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority confirmed the reopening of Iraq’s airspace to all aircraft movements, citing the mitigation of risks affecting civil aviation safety.

In Jordan, the Civil Aviation Regulatory Authority announced the reopening of the Kingdom’s airspace, highlighting a re-evaluation of risks following national and international safety standards.

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Israel also reopened its airspace for civilian aircraft after a temporary closure resulting from the Iranian overnight attack. Israel’s public broadcaster reported the resumption of air traffic at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv.

While some flights resumed over Israeli airspace, many airlines opted to reroute through northern Egyptian Sinai and Turkish airspace amid ongoing tensions between Tehran and Tel Aviv.

In Iran, the cancellation of flights at Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport was extended until 12:00 pm local time on Sunday.

Israeli army says Iran attack on Israel ‘foiled’

The Israeli army said that Iran’s attack on Israel using hundreds of drones and missiles had been “foiled,” with 99 percent of them intercepted.

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“The Iranian attack was foiled,” Israeli military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in a televised statement.

US not seeks conflict with Iran: Pentagon

US defence chief Lloyd Austin condemned Iran’s airborne attack Saturday against Israel and urged Tehran to de-escalate the situation.

“We condemn these reckless and unprecedented attacks by Iran and its proxies, and we call on Iran to immediately halt any further attacks, including from its proxy forces, and to de-escalate tensions.

“We do not seek conflict with Iran, but we will not hesitate to act to protect our forces and support the defence of Israel,” Austin said in a statement.

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He said US forces intercepted dozens of missiles and UAVs en route to Israel, launched from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

“Our forces remain postured to protect US troops and partners in the region, provide further support for Israel’s defense, and enhance regional stability,” he said.

Hezbollah targets Israeli sites in Golan heights amid escalation

Hezbollah said it targeted several Israeli sites in the Golan Heights in response to civilian casualties in overnight Israeli raids in southern Lebanon.

The Lebanese group said its fighters targeted “the Israeli sites of Nafah, Yarden and Keila in the occupied Syrian Golan heights with dozens of Katyusha rockets.”

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The attacks were in response to “the Israeli night raids targeting a number of villages and towns the most recent of which were on Khiam and Kafr Kila and resulted in a number of civilian fatalities and injuries,” it said.

There were no reports on the number of casualties in the Israeli attacks.

Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation said, “Alarm sirens are sounding in the northern Golan as a result of missile launches from Lebanon.”

UN Security Council to convene over Iran retaliation

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Sunday over Iran’s unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel, the body’s president has said.

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A spokesperson for Malta, which holds the rotating presidency this month, told the press that the Security Council was aiming for the meeting to be held at 4:00 pm (2000 GMT) the following day, at Israel’s request.

Netanyahu talks to Biden after Israeli ministerial meetings

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was speaking to US President Joe Biden at the conclusion of meetings by Israel’s war cabinet and security cabinet to discuss hostilities with Iran, Netanyahu’s office has said.

The conversation took place after Netanyahu held a security cabinet meeting to discuss what the Israeli army said was an “ongoing” attack by Iran from its territory on Israel.

Israel signals end of Iran threat, revises shelter standby

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Israel’s military has said that it was not advising any residents of the country to prepare to take shelter, revising an earlier alert in what appeared to signal the end of the threat seen from incoming Iranian missiles and drones.

Security cabinet designates leaders to decide Israel’s Iran response

The Israeli security cabinet has granted Prime Minister Netanyahu, alongside Defense Minister Joav Gallant and Minister Benny Gantz, the authority to determine the nation’s course of action in response to the recent Iranian attack, according to Axios.

Scheduled for tomorrow, the Israeli war cabinet will convene to deliberate on the matter, signalling a critical moment in the ongoing conflict between the two nations.

However, dissent within the ranks emerged as Ministers Ben Gabir and Smotritz opposed the authorization granted to Netanyahu, Galant, and Gantz, showcasing a division within the cabinet.

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Despite this discord, all other ministers voted in favour of empowering the trio to chart Israel’s response, according to insider sources familiar with the proceedings.

US vows ‘ironclad’ support for Israel against Iran

US President Joe Biden promised “ironclad” support for Israel against Iranian attacks, after holding an urgent meeting with his top security officials over the spiralling crisis in the Middle East.

“I just met with my national security team for an update on Iran’s attacks against Israel. Our commitment to Israel’s security against threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad,” Biden said on X, posting a picture of the meeting in the White House Situation Room.

I just met with my national security team for an update on Iran’s attacks against Israel. Our commitment to Israel’s security against threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad. pic.twitter.com/kbywnsvmAx— President Biden (@POTUS) April 13, 2024

Tehran hit Israeli air base in Negev — Iran media

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Iran’s retaliatory drone and missile attack on Israel dealt “heavy blows” to an air base in the Negev desert, state media reported.

“The most important Israeli air base in the Negev was the successful target of the Kheibar missile,” the official IRNA news agency said, adding that “images and data indicate that the base sustained heavy blows.”

Iran’s drone, missile salvos still ongoing — Israel

Iran has launched more than 200 drones and missiles at Israel, the Israeli military has said, describing many of the incoming threats as having been intercepted away from Israel’s borders but adding that the salvo was ongoing.

A small number of the dozens of ground-to-ground Iranian missiles struck Israel, wounding a girl and causing light damage to a military installation in the south, armed forces spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari has said.

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Saudi Arabia urges ‘utmost levels’ of restraint

Saudi Arabia expressed the Kingdom’s deep concern regarding military escalations in the region and the seriousness of their repercussions, a statement from the Kingdom’s Foreign Ministry has said.

The Kingdom called on all parties to exercise the ‘utmost levels’ of restraint and spare the region and its people the dangers of wars.

UN ‘deeply alarmed’ by Iran attack, warns of escalation

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned Iran’s attack on Israel and called for restraint and an immediate cessation of hostilities.

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“I am deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation. I urge all parties to exercise maximum restraint to avoid any action that could lead to major military confrontations on multiple fronts in the Middle East,” Guterres said in a statement.

Iran warns US, Israel of consequences if Tehran’s interests at risk

Iran has said it will not hesitate to take further “defensive measures” to protect its interests against any military aggression, the Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement.

“Iran, if necessary, will not hesitate to take further defensive measures to safeguard its legitimate interests against any military aggressions and unlawful use of force,” it said, according to state TV, “while reaffirming its commitment to the principles of the United Nations Charter and international law.”

Iran tells US to ‘stay away’ as it says Israel issue ‘concluded’

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The United States must stay away from the conflict between Iran and Israel, Iran’s mission to the United Nations has said on social media platform X, warning Tehran’s response would be more severe if Israel retaliates.

” … Iran’s military action was in response to the Zionist regime’s aggression against our diplomatic premises in Damascus. The matter can be deemed concluded,” the mission said on X.

“However, should the Israeli regime make another mistake, Iran’s response will be considerably more severe. It is a conflict between Iran and the rogue Israeli regime, from which the US must stay away!”

Conducted on the strength of Article 51 of the UN Charter pertaining to legitimate defense, Iran’s military action was in response to the Zionist regime’s aggression against our diplomatic premises in Damascus. The matter can be deemed concluded. However, should the Israeli…— Permanent Mission of I.R.Iran to UN, NY (@Iran_UN) April 13, 2024

Jordan downs dozens of Iranian drones headed to Israel

Jordanian military jets intercepted and shot down dozens of Iranian drones that were flying across northern and central Jordan towards Israel, according to two regional security sources.

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The move sends a clear message to Iran about Jordan’s readiness to defend against any perceived threats.

Palestinians in the occupied West Bank observe Iran’s strike into Israel pic.twitter.com/gEG9BQYJly— TRT World (@trtworld) April 13, 2024

Iran monitors Jordan as potential next target

A source speaking to Iran’s Fars News Agency has said that Tehran’s keen interest in monitoring Jordan’s political landscape, suggests the kingdom could be a potential target if it aligns with pro-Israel initiatives.

With Iran closely eyeing developments in Jordan, the spectre of geopolitical manoeuvring looms large, casting a shadow over the stability of the region.

Israel plans ‘significant response’ to Iran

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Tel Aviv is poised to deliver what officials are terming a “significant response” to Iran after launching a barrage of drone and missile attacks on Israel.

Citing an anonymous senior Israeli official, Channel 12 TV has reported that the nation is strategising its retaliation against the drone salvo.

US fighters scramble to shoot Iranian drones towards Israel

The US military has shot down Iranian drone aircraft headed toward Israel, three US officials have said, without disclosing how many drones were shot down or the precise locations.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps said it launched dozens of drones and missiles at Israel in an attack that may trigger a major escalation between the regional archenemies

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Cruise missiles were seen flying over eastern Iraq after Iran launched attacks on Israel in apparent retaliation for an Israeli strike on its Damascus consulate on April 1 pic.twitter.com/DXynSgSIeC— TRT World (@trtworld) April 13, 2024

Israel readies Golan Heights for Iranian drone attacks

Israel’s military put the northern part of the occupied Golan Heights as well as Nevatim, Dimona and Eilat on standby for possible impact from Iranian drone launches, instructing residents to stay close to bomb shelters.

The Golan was captured from Syria in a 1967 war.

Nevatim is the site of an Israeli air base. Israel has a nuclear reactor on the outskirts of Dimona. Eilat is Israel’s southern Red Seaport, which has come under repeated attack by Yemen’s Houthis.

Israel’s military sounds sirens, intercepts drones

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Israel’s military has said it was sounding sirens in locations throughout the country and a Reuters witness in Jerusalem heard explosions from what local TV showed were aerial interceptions of drones launched by Iran.

Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service has reported that it has not received any reports of casualties resulting from incoming Iranian drones.

Iran fires first wave of ballistic missiles at Israel — report

Tehran’s first wave of ballistic missiles strikes Israel, according to a source speaking to Iran’s state news agency, prompting fears of increased conflict.

Separately, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency also said that Tehran has fired ballistic missiles at targets inside Israel.

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#BREAKING Iranian ballistic missile over Iraq, heading to Israel. pic.twitter.com/eKjefsbDhO— Clash Report (@clashreport) April 13, 2024

Israel confirms 100+ Iran drone attacks, refutes cruise missile reports

Iran has launched more than 100 explosives-laden drones at Israel since Saturday, the Israeli military has said, declining to immediately confirm media reports that cruise missiles were also part of the salvo.

Separately an Israel army official said that Tel Aviv expects more “waves of drones” from Iran.

Jordan ready to intercept any airspace violations

Jordan has signalled its readiness to counter any air space violations by Iranian drones or aircraft.

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According to two regional security sources cited by Reuters, Jordan’s air defence stands prepared to intercept and shoot down any unauthorised incursions.

This proactive stance underscores the broader implications of Iran’s actions, extending beyond the immediate theatre of conflict.

Yemeni Houthis launch drone assault on Israel — agency

Yemen’s Houthis launched multiple drones at Israel in coordination with Iran, security firm Ambrey said, adding that the projectiles were likely timed to reach Israel simultaneously.

“Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS) were reportedly launched by the Houthis toward Israel. The UAVs were launched in coordination with Iran,” the company said.

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“Israeli ports are assessed to be potential targets”, it added, and warned of “collateral damage” to shipping.

Iran strikes ‘severe and dangerous escalation’ — Israel army

The Iranian drone attack underway against Israel marks a “severe and dangerous escalation,” Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari has said.

“We are closely monitoring Iranian killer drones that are en route to Israel sent by Iran. This is a severe and dangerous escalation,” Rear Admiral Hagari said.

Egypt urges ‘utmost restraint’ amid regional tensions

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Egypt has issued a statement urging the exercise of utmost restraint to spare the region and its people from further factors of instability and tension.

The Egyptian foreign ministry, in a statement, called for the exercise of the “utmost restraint” to spare the region and its people from further factors of instability and tension.

“A crisis cell … is closely monitoring the situation and submitting reports to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi hour by hour,” the channel said, citing a senior security official.

Netanyahu convenes Israeli war cabinet

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened the Israeli war cabinet at military headquarters in Tel Aviv, his office has said, after hostilities with arch-foe Iran surged.

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“Netanyahu is convening the War Management Cabinet at this time, in Kirya in Tel Aviv,” the prime minister’s office said.

Iran warns against hosting Israel attacks

Tehran has warned that any country facilitating Israel’s attacks on Iran will face a firm response.

According to Mehr News Agency, Iran’s defence minister has said any country that opens its airspace or territory for attacks on Iran by Israel “will receive Tehran’s firm response.”

Cruise missiles accompany Iran’s drones — report

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Israel’s Channel 12 TV has reported that Iran’s offensive extends beyond drone attacks, with the launch of cruise missiles adding another layer of complexity to the ongoing conflict.

The TV also reported that Iran has launched approximately 100 drones, some of which have been shot down over Syria or Jordan.

These missiles, characterised by their shorter flight times compared to drones, pose a significant challenge to Israeli defence systems.

Israel closes airspace

Israel’s airport authority announced the closure of its airspace from 2130 GMT, a move aimed at safeguarding against further potential attacks.

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EL AL Airlines Ltd, Israel’s flagship carrier, has taken preemptive action by cancelling 15 flights scheduled for April 13 and April 14, underscoring the severity of the situation.

Israeli authorities brace for the anticipated arrival of Iranian drones, expected to reach Israeli air space on early Sunday between 2 and 4 a.m local time, according to Army Radio.

Israel El Al Airlines cancels 15 flights scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, the carrier says as hostilities with Iran surge and Israel closes its airspace as a precaution pic.twitter.com/xDCuzAe7yB— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) April 13, 2024

Iran drone attack on Israel to ‘unfold over a number of hours’: White House

Iran’s drone attack on Israel is likely to last several hours, the White House has said, while pledging to support its ally’s defence against Tehran.

“This attack is likely to unfold over a number of hours,” National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement, adding that “the United States will stand with the people of Israel and support their defence against these threats from Iran.”

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Jordan ready to intercept any airspace violations

Jordan, Iran’s neighbouring country, has signalled its readiness to counter any air space violations by Iranian drones or aircraft.

According to two regional security sources cited by Reuters, Jordan’s air defence stands prepared to intercept and shoot down any unauthorised incursions.

This proactive stance underscores the broader implications of Iran’s actions, extending beyond the immediate theatre of conflict.

Syrian regime alerts ground-to-air defence systems

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Syria put on high alert its Russian-made Pantsir ground-to-air defence systems around the capital Damascus and major bases in the event of an Israeli strike, regime’s army sources said.

They said they expected Israel would retaliate against army bases and installations where pro-Iranian militia were based after Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said they launched dozens of drones and missiles against specific targets in Israel.

Iraq closes airspace as Iran launches attack on Israel: ministry

Iraq announced late on Saturday it was closing its airspace and suspending all air traffic after neighbouring Iran launched a drone attack on Israel.

“Iraq’s airspace has been closed and air traffic has been halted”, Transport Minister Razzak al-Saadawi told state news agency INA.

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The Civil Aviation Authority said the closure would last from 11:30 pm (2030 GMT) until 5:30 am (0230 GMT).

IRCG confirms retaliation attack on Israel

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have confirmed that Tehran has launched a coordinated attack targeting specific locations in Israel, according to state media.

The retaliation involved the deployment of dozens of drones and missiles, escalating tensions in the region to new heights.

The targeted strikes have prompted Israel to take immediate defensive measures, including the closure of its airspace.

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Iran launches attack

The Israeli military says Iran has launched drones at Israel and will take hours to arrive.

Israel’s top-rated Channel 12 TV news has reported that Iran had launched dozens of pilotless aircraft at targets in Israel and that their flight time was expected to take hours.

An expert interviewed by the channel, retired general Amos Yadlin, said the drones were equipped with 20 kg of explosives each and that Israel’s air defences were ready to shoot them down.

Israel on high alert

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Iran will bear consequences if it escalates violence in the region, an Israeli military spokesperson has said.

“Iran will bear the consequences for choosing to escalate the situation any further,” Daniel Hagari said in a statement on Saturday.

“Israel is on high alert. We have increased our readiness to protect Israel from further Iranian aggression. We are also prepared to respond.”

Announcing the measures in a televised briefing, Hagari said dozens of combat planes were airborne as part of the state of readiness.

Iran must release seized ship ‘immediately’: White House

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The White House called on Iran to immediately release a ‘British-owned ship’ it seized near the Strait of Hormuz, as Middle East tensions soar and fears mount over a retaliatory attack on Israel.

“We call on Iran to release the vessel and its international crew immediately,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson. “Seizing a civilian vessel without provocation is a blatant violation of international law, and an act of piracy by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.”

Iran says Israel ‘in complete panic’

An adviser to Iran’s supreme leader has said that Israel is panicking over a possible retaliatory response from Iran after a strike in Syria which killed members of its Revolutionary Guard.

“It has been a week that the Zionists are in complete panic and are on alert,”

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Yahya Rahim Safavi, senior adviser to Ali Khamenei, was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.

“They don’t know what Iran wants to do, so they and their supporters are terrified,” ISNA quoted him as saying.

Austin – Gallant phone call

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant have discussed “urgent” regional threats, the Pentagon has said.

During a phone call, Austin reiterated unwavering US support for Israel’s defence, it said in a statement.

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“Secretary Austin made clear that Israel could count on full US support to defend Israel against any attacks by Iran and its regional proxies,” it added.

Israel closes schools

Israel is closing schools nationwide over security concerns, military spokesman Hagari has said, after threats by Iran to retaliate for a deadly air strike on its Damascus consulate.

There will be “no educational activities” when the school week begins on Sunday “in light of the security situation,” he said in a televised statement.

Israel called off school trips and other youth activities planned for the coming days, the beginning of the Passover festival, and placed the armed forces on full alert due to a possible attack by Iran.

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Israel monitoring threat

Israel is “closely monitoring a planned attack” against it by Iran and Tehran’s allies in the region, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has said, without giving further details on the threat.

In the statement, Gallant said Israelis should heed any orders that might be issued by the military’s Homefront Command, which maps incoming missiles and other aerial threats so as to let the public know whether to take shelter.

US for urgent consultations

US President Joe Biden cut short a weekend trip to Delaware for urgent consultations in Washington on the Middle East, the White House said, as tensions soar amid growing fears of a possible Iranian attack on Israel.

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Redirecting flights

Australian airline Qantas said it would redirect its long-haul flights between Perth and London to avoid Iran’s airspace amid soaring Middle East tensions.

A Qantas spokesperson told AFP the airline would temporarily adjust the flight paths due to “the situation in parts of the Middle East”.

“We’ll reach out to customers directly if there’s any change to their booking,” the spokesperson said.

Wall Street

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Wall Street stocks finished a volatile week sharply lower, falling on anxiety over a potential escalation of conflict in the Middle East.

Market watchers cited worries about an imminent attack on Israel by Iran to retaliate for a strike in Damascus, a possibility also raised by President Joe Biden, who urged Iran against the move.

Israel urges EU

Israel’s foreign minister urged the EU to declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a “terrorist organisation” after Iran said it had seized a ship linked to Israel in the Gulf.

“I call on the European Union and the free world to immediately declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guards corps as a terrorist organisation and to sanction Iran now,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz posted on X.

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Jordan closes airspace

Jordan announced it was closing its airspace Saturday as regional tensions soared after Iran threatened reprisals against Israel for a deadly air strike on its consulate building in Damascus.

The civil aviation authority in Jordan, which lies between Israel and Iran, said that the measure, initially imposed for “several hours” from 2000 GMT, would be reviewed and updated regularly “in light of developments”, state media reported.

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