HomeGlobal Defence UpdatesIsraeli war cabinet to meet for third time amid restraint calls

Israeli war cabinet to meet for third time amid restraint calls

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Jerusalem: Israel’s war cabinet was set to meet for the third time in three days on Tuesday, an official said, to decide on a response to Iran’s first-ever direct attack, amid international pressure to avoid further escalating the conflicts in the Middle East.

Military chief of staff Herzi Halevi had promised that Saturday night’s launch of more than 300 missiles, cruise missiles and drones from Iran into Israeli territory “will be met with response”, but gave no details.

While the attack caused no deaths and little damage, thanks to the air defences and countermeasures of Israel and its allies, it has increased concerns that violence rooted in the Gaza war is spreading, and fears of open war between the long-time foes.

Iran launched the attack in retaliation for an airstrike on its embassy compound in Damascus on April 1 attributed to Israel, but signalled that it did not seek further escalation.

President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekend that the United States, Israel’s main protector, would not participate in an Israeli counter-strike.

Together with European allies, Washington instead strove on Tuesday to toughen economic and political sanctions in an attempt to persuade Israel to abstain from violent retaliation.Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz said he was “leading a diplomatic attack”, writing to 32 countries to ask them to place sanctions on Iran’s missile programme and follow Washington in proscribing its dominant military force, the Revolutionary Guard Corps, as a terrorist group.European Union (EU) foreign ministers scheduled a video meeting on the Middle East for Tuesday. Last autumn, Germany campaigned with France and other EU partners to extend an existing EU sanctions regime against Iran that targets drone production. Its foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, said on Tuesday that several EU members had now promised to look again at extending those sanctions.

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