Israel warns Iran it will ‘exact a price’ for attack as key ally US scrambles to prevent regional war

Israel has warned it will “exact a price” for Iran’s unprecedented mass drone and missile attack at the weekend which tipped the Middle East one step closer to major conflict.

Iran launched a massive wave of 300 drones, cruise and ballistic missiles overnight on Saturday in retaliation for an alleged Israeli strike on its consulate in Damascus, that killed two generals from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

Almost all of them were shot down by Israel and its allies – including the UK, the US, and air forces of other countries – raising the spectre of a conflict spreading across the region and beyond.

But in an attempt to lower tensions, US President Joe Biden warned Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu the US would not join a further counteroffensive, while senior White House officials said they “don’t seek a wider war in the region” or one with Iran.

Ahead of a meeting of the Israeli war cabinet on Sunday, minister Benny Gantz, the former head of the military, vowed that the “campaign is not over” and added that Iran would build a regional coalition to counter the threat from Iran “when the time is right’.

“Iran is a global problem, it is a regional challenge and it is also a danger to Israel, and yesterday, the world clearly stood together with Israel in the face of the danger,” he said.

“Faced with the threat of Iran we will build a regional coalition and exact the price from Iran in the way and at the time that suits us”.

His words were echoed by Israel’s defence minister Yoav Gallant who also spoke of establishing a “strategic alliance against this grave threat by Iran”.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog, called Tehran “an empire of evil which has its proxies, led all over the region and [with] all cells all over the world”.

“We were attacked last night from four corners of the Middle East with proxies shooting at us, firing missiles and ballistic missiles, drones and cruise missiles,” he told Sky News. “This is like a real war. I mean, this is a declaration of war.”

The Israeli military meanwhile said it remains on “high alert”  and is still  “assessing the situation”. “Over the last few hours we approved operational plans for both offensive and defensive action,” Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, a spokesperson, said in a televised statement.

Overnight on Saturday the skies above Israel, the occupied West Bank, Jordan and even parts of Iraq and Syria lit up with explosions as Israeli, American, British and even reportedly Jordanian jets scrambled to intercept the massive salvo.

The Israeli military said in total Iran and its proxies fired at least 170 drones, 120 ballistic missiles and more than 30 cruise missiles towards Israel, but “99 per cent” of the projectiles were intercepted. Some ballistic missiles did reach inside Israeli territory, causing minor damage to an airbase and injuring a 10-year-old girl.

Rishi Sunak said that RAF jets shot down “a number” of attack drones and warned that had Iran’s attack on Israel been successful “the fallout for regional stability would be hard to overstate.”

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  • Source of information and images “independent”

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