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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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European states to move on Palestine recognition as Gaza war rages

European states to move on Palestine recognition as Gaza war rages

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European states to move on Palestine recognition as Gaza war rages

 At least three European countries were expected to announce steps towards recognising a Palestinian state on Wednesday, after more than seven months of devastating fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Irish media reported that the government was expected to announce its formal recognition of a Palestinian state at a press conference by premier Simon Harris, deputy premier Micheal Martin and minister Eamon Ryan at 0700 GMT.

Norway was expected to make a similar announcement around the same time, according to two Norwegian newspapers.

And in Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was scheduled to address parliament about setting a date for recognising a Palestinian state.

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Sanchez said in March that Spain and Ireland, along with Slovenia and Malta, had agreed to take their first steps towards Palestinian recognition, seeing a two-state solution as essential for lasting peace.

Israel’s foreign ministry posted a video addressed to Ireland on X on Tuesday warning that “recognising a Palestinian state risks turning you into a pawn in the hands of Iran and Hamas”.

And Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli previously accused Sanchez’s government of believing “that the Palestinians should be rewarded for the massacre” perpetrated by Hamas and its allies in southern Israel on October 7.

Hamas’s October 7 attack resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 252 hostages, 124 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

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Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 35,647 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

Fighting has raged around the far southern city of Rafah, the last part of Gaza to face a ground invasion — but a resumption of fighting has also been reported in the northern Jabalia area, where Hamas forces have regrouped.

An AFP team in Rafah reported air and artillery strikes in and around the city early Wednesday.

‘Running out of words’

Israeli troops began their ground assault on parts of Rafah early this month, defying international opposition including from top ally the United States, which voiced fears for the more than one million civilians trapped in the city.

Israel has ordered mass evacuations from the city, where it has vowed to eliminate Hamas’s tunnel network and its remaining fighters.

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The UN says more than 800,000 people have fled Rafah, with Edem Wosornu of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs saying most of the displaced had gone to camps in Khan Yunis and Deir al-Balah where “they lack adequate latrines, water points, drainage and shelter”.

The World Health Organization has said northern Gaza’s last two functioning hospitals, Al-Awda and Kamal Adwan, were besieged by Israeli forces, with more than 200 patients trapped inside.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, on Tuesday said aid distribution had been suspended in Rafah “due to lack of supplies and insecurity”.

Warrant request

Starvation was among the allegations made against Israel by International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan when he announced on Monday that he had applied for arrest warrants for leaders on both sides, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In an interview with CNN, the prime minister described Khan as a “rogue prosecutor who has put false charges”, adding that “he didn’t check the facts”.

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The warrant request also targeted Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as Hamas’s Qatar-based leader Ismail Haniyeh and its Gaza military and political chiefs, Mohammed Deif and Yahya Sinwar.

US President Joe Biden has backed Netanyahu in condemning the warrant request as “outrageous”.

If granted by the ICC judges, the warrants would mean that any of the 124 ICC member states would be required to arrest Netanyahu and the others if they travelled there.

However, the court has no mechanism to enforce its orders.

Broadcast ban walked back

Israel on Tuesday shut down an Associated Press live video feed from war-torn Gaza and confiscated its equipment, before reversing the move hours later after the White House intervened.

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The US news agency said Israel had accused it of violating a ban on Al Jazeera, which was ordered shut two weeks ago based on a new Israeli law governing foreign broadcasters.

Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi later announced he had issued an order to cancel the ban and return the equipment.

AP said that while it was “pleased with this development, we remain concerned about the Israeli government’s use of the foreign broadcaster law and the ability of independent journalists to operate freely in Israel”.

Israeli forces, meanwhile, were also engaged in deadly clashes in the other major Palestinian territory, the occupied West Bank.

At least eight Palestinians were killed in the northern city of Jenin, the Ramallah-based health ministry said, as the army said it was “fighting armed men” in a “counterterrorism operation”.

Palestinian official news agency Wafa said a hospital surgeon, a schoolteacher and a student were among those killed in Jenin, a stronghold of Palestinian militant groups. 

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Volunteers race to save Mexico’s howler monkeys in heat wave

Volunteers race to save Mexico’s howler monkeys in heat wave

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Volunteers race to save Mexico's howler monkeys in heat wave

 Volunteers are rushing to hoist food and water up into trees in sweltering southern Mexico, but help came too late for the howler monkeys whose lifeless bodies lay still on the ground.

Dozens of the primates are reported to have dropped dead from trees in recent weeks, alarming conservationists trying to keep the monkeys hydrated during a heat wave.

Victor Morato and his team at a veterinary hospital in the town of Comalcalco in Tabasco state have treated eight howler monkeys brought in by residents.

“When they arrived here in agony, they extended their hand to us as if to say ‘help me’. I had a lump in my throat,” he told AFP.

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Several monkeys arrived at the clinic with body temperatures of around 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit), Morato said.

When they faint from the heat they sometimes fall 20 meters (65 feet), he added.

It is all the more worrying since the Mexican howler (Alouatta palliata mexicana) and the Yucatan black howler (Alouatta pigra) are considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The mantled howler (Alouatta palliata), which also lives in southern Mexico as well as Central and South America, is classified as vulnerable on the Red List of Threatened Species.

Authorities investigate

Leonardo Sanchez was among those putting out water and fruit to help the animals on a cocoa plantation in the southern state of Tabasco.

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The thermometer has reached almost 50 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) in recent weeks, the 22-year-old biology student said.

“We’ve had a large number of deaths (of monkeys) due to the increased temperatures,” he said.

Some volunteers carried lime to sprinkle on the bodies of dead primates.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who hails from Tabasco, said Monday the heat was the worst he had known.

“Since I’ve been visiting these states I’ve never felt it as much as I do now,” he said at his regular news conference.

Mexico’s environment ministry has said that it is investigating whether extreme heat was killing the monkeys, with studies under way to rule out a virus or disease.

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Causes under consideration included heat stroke, dehydration, malnutrition or fumigation of crops with pesticides, it said.

In Tabasco, a vulture lingered and flies swarmed near a grave that volunteer Bersabeth Ricardez said contained the bodies of around 30 monkeys.

“Today it’s the monkeys. Tomorrow it will be us,” she said.

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Everest? All in a day’s work for record climber Kami Rita Sherpa

Everest? All in a day’s work for record climber Kami Rita Sherpa

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Everest? All in a day's work for record climber Kami Rita Sherpa

Scaling the world’s highest peak is all in a day’s work for 54-year-old Nepali mountaineer Kami Rita Sherpa, a man breezily modest about having set foot on the summit of Everest more times than any other person.

On Wednesday morning, Sherpa scaled Everest for the 30th time in three decades of climbing the mountain, extending his own record just 10 days after his last successful ascent.

“I am glad for the record, but records are eventually broken,” Sherpa told AFP last week after his 29th successful climb.

“I am happier that my climbs help Nepal be recognised in the world.”

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Dubbed the “Everest Man”, he has held the record since 2018 and his closest rival is now three summits back.

“I did not climb for world records, I was just working,” he said in a 2019 interview. “I did not even know you could set records earlier.”

A living legend of mountaineering, Sherpa was born in 1970 in Thame, a village in the Himalayas famed as a breeding ground of successful mountaineers.

The community’s most famous son, Tenzing Norgay, made the first successful climb of Everest’s 8,849-metre (29,029-foot) peak alongside New Zealand’s Edmund Hillary in 1953.

Growing up, Sherpa watched his father and then his brother don climbing gear to join expeditions as mountain guides, and was soon following in their footsteps.

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A guide for about four decades, he first reached the summit in 1994 while working for a commercial expedition, and has repeated the feat almost every year since.

In 2018, he ascended Everest for the 22nd time, breaking the previous record he shared with two other Sherpa climbers — both of whom have retired.

The following year, aged 49, he conquered Everest twice in six days.

‘The risk we take’

He briefly shared the record last year when another guide, Pasang Dawa Sherpa, equalled his then total of 27 summits.

But he quickly reclaimed it on his own that season with his 28th summit.

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Sherpa has reached the top of four other of the highest Himalayan mountains — K2, Lhotse, Manaslu, and Cho Oyu — and has a world record 44 summits of peaks higher than 8,000 metres.

As a senior climber, he has on numerous occasions led the team that fixes ropes leading up to Everest’s summit, an annual practice before the climbing season begins that makes the ascent safer.

In recent years, he has recounted his own observations of the impact of climate change on the weather patterns on the mountains.

“We now see rock exposed in areas where there used to be snow before. Not just on Everest, other mountains are also losing their snow and ice. It is worrying,” he told AFP in 2022.

He has also been a regular advocate of the importance of Nepali mountain guides and the need for more action to recognise their contributions.

Ethnic Sherpas from the valleys around Everest are a crucial component of Nepal’s lucrative mountaineering industry, which nets the Himalayan republic millions every year.

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With their unique ability to work in a low-oxygen, high-altitude atmosphere, they are the backbone of climbing expeditions, helping clients and hauling equipment up Himalayan peaks.

“It would not be possible for many foreign climbers to summit mountains without our help and the risk we take,” Sherpa said in a 2021 interview. 

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