Israel presses on in Gaza as world leaders urge Israel not to retaliate for Iran attack

Israel presses on in Gaza as world leaders urge Israel not to retaliate for Iran attack
Israel's army has said it will not be distracted from Gaza after Iran's attack. UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron has urged Israel not to retaliate.
21 min read

This live blog on Israel's war on Gaza has concluded. Make sure to follow us for the latest news on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Israel's army has said it will not be distracted from Gaza after Iran's unprecedented attack heightened fears of wider conflict.

"Even while under attack from Iran, we have not lost sight, not for one moment, of our critical mission in Gaza to rescue our hostages from the hands of Iran's proxy Hamas," Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said.

Iran launched hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel on Saturday night in response to a deadly Israeli attack on Iran's Damascus consulate on 1 April.

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron has urged Israel not to retaliate after Iran's attack, saying Tehran's move had been a near-total failure and the focus should remain on agreeing a ceasefire in Gaza.

France will do all it can to avoid further escalation in the conflict between Israel and Iran in the Middle East, President Emmanuel Macron has said.

Israel's war on Gaza has so far killed at least 33,797 people in the strip.

(AFP, Reuters, The New Arab)

Featured images: Anadolu/Getty

This live blog has now concluded
6:09 PM
The New Arab Staff

This live blog on Israel's war on Gaza has concluded. Make sure to follow us for the latest news on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Two children, one woman killed near Gaza's Nuseirat camp
5:55 PM
The New Arab Staff

Three people, including two children, were killed near central Gaza's Nuseirat refugee camp, The New Arab's Arabic edition Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reports.

The children were killed and several other people injured by Israeli army gunfire north of the camp.

A woman was killed and other people injured after a home was bombed in the Al-Sawarhah area west of the camp.

EasyJet says suspends flights to and from Tel Aviv
5:47 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

British airline EasyJet on Monday said it was pausing flights to and from Tel Aviv until Sunday, citing safety concerns after Iran carried out a retaliatory attack against Israel with drones and missiles over the weekend.

"The safety and security of our passengers and crew is always easyJet's highest priority," it said in a statement.

"Due to the evolving situation in Israel, easyJet has taken the decision to temporarily pause operations to and from Tel Aviv until 21 April," the airline said on Monday.

"Customers on affected flights have been contacted," it added.

Belgium summons Iran envoy over attack on Israel
5:43 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Belgium on Monday joined other EU countries in summoning Iran's ambassador to complain about Tehran's retaliatory drone and missile attack on Israel and urge restraint.

"The Iranian ambassador has just been summoned. Belgium strongly condemns Iran's attack on Israel," Belgium's foreign minister Hadja Lahbib wrote on X.

"We call on all parties to exercise the greatest restraint. A regional escalation is to be avoided."

The move by Belgium, which holds the European Union's rotating presidency, came after France, Germany, and the Czech Republic said they were summoning the Iranian envoys in their respective capitals.

Israel aims to hurt Iran, avoid all-out war: Channel 12
4:55 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's war cabinet discussed a range of options at its meeting on Monday, with the intention of hurting Iran for its drone and missile attack on Israel but without causing an all-out war, Israel's Channel 12 news reported.

In an unsourced report, the broadcaster said Israel's intention was to embark on action coordinated with the United States, which has said it would not join Israel in any direct attack on Iran.


Malaysia's Anwar says Iran's attack on Israel 'legitimate'
4:29 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said on Monday that Iran's unprecedented missile and drone attack on Israel two days ago was "legitimate".

World powers have urged restraint after Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel late on Saturday, although the Israeli military has said nearly all were intercepted. It came after an Israeli strike in Syria earlier this month killed seven members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

Muslim-majority Malaysia's leader Anwar urged Israel "not to take any further retaliation that will aggravate tensions in the Middle East".

"The launching of the drones by Iran is a legitimate act following the barbarous attack by the Israeli Zionist regime against the Iranian embassy in Damascus," Anwar said in a statement, referring to the 1 April strike on Tehran's consulate in the Syrian capital.

The statement was issued after Anwar chaired a meeting of Malaysia's National Security Council to discuss soaring tensions in the Middle East.

Lebanese officials charge Mossad killed Mohammad Sarur
4:24 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A Lebanese minister and two senior officials said preliminary findings suggest Israel's Mossad spy agency was behind the killing of a US-sanctioned Lebanese man accused of sending Iranian money to Hamas.

The body of Mohammad Sarur, 57, was found riddled with bullets in a villa in the Lebanese mountain town of Beit Mery last Tuesday.

Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi told Al-Jadeed TV late on Sunday that "according to the data we have so far, [the killing] was carried out by intelligence services".

Asked whether he was referring to Mossad, Mawlawi confirmed.

AFP has requested comment from Israeli government officials but has received no response so far.

The US Treasury said in August 2019 that it had sanctioned Sarur for funnelling "tens of millions of dollars" from Iran's Revolutionary Guards "to Hamas for terrorist attacks originating from the Gaza Strip", through Lebanon's Hamas-allied Hezbollah.

A Lebanese judicial official and a security source told AFP that Mossad likely masterminded Sarur's killing, both speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to speak to the press.

"The preliminary results of the investigation indicate that the Israeli Mossad was behind the assassination," the security official told AFP.

Initial findings "suggest the Mossad used Lebanese and Syrian agents to lure Sarur to a villa in Beit Mery," the official said, adding that they had wiped fingerprints from the crime scene and used silenced weapons.

The judicial official also told AFP that preliminary information pointed to Mossad, but that the probe was ongoing, with investigators collecting evidence "especially from communications data".

The US Treasury said Sarur "served as a middle-man" for money transfers between the Revolutionary Guards and Hamas "and worked with Hezbollah operatives to ensure funds were provided" to Hamas's armed wing.

Sarur "has an extensive history working at Hezbollah's sanctioned bank, Bayt Al-Mal", the Treasury said.

Iran will respond swiftly if Israel retaliates, says FM
3:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran does not want increased tensions but will respond immediately and more strongly than before if Israel retaliates, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told his British counterpart on Monday, according to Iranian state media.

Iran launched explosive drones and fired missiles at Israel late on Saturday in retaliation for a deadly Israeli attack on its embassy compound in Damascus, fuelling fears of a wider regional conflict bursting out of the Gaza war.


Biden to meet Iraq PM Al-Sudani as Middle East tensions soar
3:29 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden will meet Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani at the White House on Monday, after Iran's retaliatory attack on Israel sent tensions soaring across the Middle East.

Sudani's trip to Washington, his first since taking office in October 2022, was originally expected to focus on the presence of US troops in Iraq as part of an anti-jihadist coalition.

But the meeting will now be dominated by the fractious situation in the region after Iraq's neighbour Iran launched a massive missile and drone assault on Israel on Saturday.

US forces based near the northern Iraq city of Erbil were involved in the operation to counter Iran's attack on Israel, using a Patriot missile battery to shoot down an Iranian ballistic missile.

"This official visit occurs at a delicate and sensitive time in the relations with the United States, as well as in the context of regional conditions," a statement from Sudani's office said ahead of his departure on Saturday.

The White House said in March that Biden and Sudani would discuss "our shared commitment to the lasting defeat of ISIS and evolution of the military mission".

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani [IRANIAN PRESIDENCY / HANDOUT/Anadolu/Getty]
Israel army official says four soldiers wounded in Lebanon
2:58 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Four Israeli soldiers were wounded in an explosion hundreds of metres inside Lebanese territory, an Israeli military official said on Monday.

It appeared to be the first such incident to become known since the Gaza war erupted in October, leading to months of exchanges of fire between Israel and Lebanese armed group Hezbollah.

Hezbollah said in a statement that its fighters planted explosive devices in the Tel Ismail area near the border on the Lebanese side.

It said that when a patrol of Israel's Golani Brigade crossed into Lebanon and arrived at the area where the devices were planted, Hezbollah detonated them, leading to deaths and injuries.

Earlier on Monday, the military said four soldiers were injured, one severely, as a result of an explosion of an unknown source during overnight activity along the northern border and that the incident was under review.


Israel detained 3,000 Gazans since war, rights group says
2:46 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel has detained at least 3,000 Gazans since its war on the strip began, a Palestinian rights group says.

"This aggressive detention campaign is unparalleled, with detainees subjected to multiple forms of cruelty, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment from the moment they are arrested and continue throughout their detention at interrogation centres," Al Mezan Center for Human Rights says in a press release.

"This occurs without any judicial oversight or legal protection, in blatant defiance of international humanitarian law and international human rights law."

Al Mezan says the 3,000 Palestinian residents of Gaza detained include women, children, doctors, and journalists.

The group says an Al Mezan lawyer has visited around 40 detainees in the Ashkelon and Ofer prisons.

"The testimonies provided by these detainees to Al Mezan unveiled harrowing accounts of torture and inhumane treatment from the moment of their arrest," the human rights organisation adds.

"They were forced to strip naked, wear blindfolds, and have their wrists tied. They were also brutally beaten, deprived of sleep for several days, denied food, and deliberately starved as a form of torture and collective punishment."

A 19-year-old man said he started to be tortured as soon as he was arrested.

"He described how three of his fingernails were removed with pliers during interrogation," Al Mezan says.

"He also stated that investigators unleashed a dog on him and subjected him to shabeh - a form of torture which involves detainees being handcuffed and bound in stress positions for long periods - three times over three days of interrogation."

Al Mezan's press release adds that the teenager was then put in a cell for 70 days, where he "experienced starvation and extreme fatigue".

Gaza officials say Israel released 150 detainees
2:39 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Gaza's crossings authority said Israel released around 150 detainees from the Palestinian territory on Monday, alleging that they had been mistreated in detention.

Israeli soldiers have rounded up hundreds of Palestinians during their more than six-month war on Gaza, holding them without charge before releasing some in groups.

The latest detainees to be released were taken to Israel and returned via the Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) border crossing before some were treated in a hospital in Rafah, in the south of the besieged territory, according to the Gaza crossings authority and an AFP journalist.

"Since the early hours of the morning, 150 prisoners from various parts of the Gaza Strip who were detained by the Israeli occupation have been released," the spokesman for the Gaza Crossings Authority, Hisham Adwan, told AFP.

"It is very noticeable that there is severe mistreatment of these prisoners, as a number of them were sent to Abu Yousef Al-Najjar Hospital for treatment."

The Israeli military did not comment on the release of these detainees but said the mistreatment of those in detention was "absolutely prohibited".

It claimed to AFP in a statement that those not involved in "terrorist activity" are "released back to the Gaza Strip".

UK dismisses Iran assertion it gave warning before attack
1:51 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Britain rejects an assertion by Iran that it provided advance notice before attacking Israel, a spokesman for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Sunday that Iran gave neighbouring countries and Israel's ally the United States 72 hours' notice it would launch the strikes.

"I would reject that chracterisation," Sunak's spokesman told reporters.

"And more broadly we condemn in the strongest possible terms their direct attack against Israel."

American newspaper The Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia gave the US details of Iran's retaliatory attack on Israel on Saturday ahead of time.

Two days prior to Tehran's strike, Iranian officials sketched out details, including of the timing, for representatives of Gulf states including Saudi Arabia to allow to allow them to protect their airspace, according to officials cited by The Journal.

These details were given to the US, providing the Americans and Israelis warning ahead of the attack.

The Journal also reported that both Saudi Arabia and the UAE agreed to share intelligence regarding Tehran's attack.

(Reuters, The New Arab)

Rights activist says keep speaking about 'Israel's genocide'
1:14 PM
The New Arab Staff

A human rights activist calls for people to keep speaking about "Israel's genocide" in Gaza.

"While attention is gradually shifting away from #Gaza, don't stop talking about Israel's genocide there," Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor's strategy director Maha Hussaini says on X.

"Keep the narrative of the nearly 40,000 victims, of whom 70% are women and children, alive."

White House's Kirby: Aid to Gaza has increased dramatically
1:05 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Humanitarian aid getting into the Gaza Strip has increased by a large amount in the last few days, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Monday, adding the United States needs to see that aid sustained.

"The aid has increased and quite dramatically in just the last few days," Kirby said in an interview with American broadcaster MSNBC.

"That's important but it has to be sustained."


Gaza Families Reunited reacts after UK petition exceeds 100k
12:44 PM
The New Arab Staff

A group led by Gazan families living in the UK says a petition calling for a Palestinian family visa scheme exceeding 100,000 signatures "showcases the extent of solidarity that exists".

The petition on the UK parliament's website, which has been promoted by Gaza Families Reunited, currently has 102,617 signatures.

Petitions that surpass 100,000 signatures are considered for parliamentary debate.

"This milestone showcases the extent of solidarity that exists across the UK with members of the Palestinian community in the UK wishing to reunite with their loved ones. We hope this will encourage politicians in Westminster to recognise both the public support and urgent need for a viable scheme to reunite Gazan families," a Gaza Families Reunited representative says in a press release.

"We all have a right to family unity. But the UK government’s reluctance to create a Gaza family scheme is endangering the lives of Palestinians in Gaza and keeping families apart."

The representative adds: "The British government has previously offered sanctuary to Ukrainian families. All we are asking is that the same opportunity is afforded to Palestinians fleeing Israeli bombardment and starvation and seeking to reunite with their loved ones. 

"The UK government has a moral obligation to create a Gaza Family Scheme to enable Palestinians in the UK to bring their loved ones to safety until it is safe to return."

The petition's deadline is Thursday, and Gaza Families Reunited says it encourages the public to sign.

Gazans flood road north after 'open checkpoint' rumours
12:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Thousands of Gazans flooded the coast road north on Sunday after hearing that several people managed to cross a closed checkpoint towards Gaza City, despite Israel denying it was open.

An AFP journalist saw mothers holding their children's hands and families piling onto donkey carts with their luggage as they made the journey.

They hoped to cross a military checkpoint on Al-Rashid road south of Gaza City, but the Israeli army told AFP that reports the route was open were "not true".

On the other side, desperate families waited for their loved ones in the rubble of the battered main city in the Palestinian territory.

Mahmoud Awdeh said he was waiting for his wife, who has been in the southern city of Khan Younis since the start of the war on 7 October.

"She told me over the phone that people are leaving the southern part and heading to the north," Awdeh said.

"She told me she's waiting at the checkpoint until the army agrees to let her head to the north," he said, hoping she would be able to cross safely.

During the day rumours also spread that the Israeli army was allowing women, children and men over 50 to go to the north, a claim denied by the army.

Several Gazans said they came under attack on the route and AFP footage showed people ducking for cover.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa said: "Israeli occupation forces bomb[ed] displaced Palestinians as they were trying to return to the north of [the] Gaza Strip through Al Rasheed street."

Wafa shared a video on social media platform X which AFP has not verified showing people running away from a blast.

Nour, a displaced Gazan, told AFP: "When we arrived at the [Israeli] checkpoint, they would let women pass or stop them, but they shot at men so we had to return, we didn't want to die."

The Israeli military did not offer a comment when asked by AFP.

Granddaughter of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh dies of wounds
12:16 PM
The New Arab Staff

The granddaughter of Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh has succumbed to wounds sustained in an Israeli strike that targeted her family last week, Palestinian sources reported on Monday.

The child Malak battled for her life after the Israeli strike that killed her father and two of his brothers in Gaza on Tuesday, along with four of Haniyeh's grandchildren.

The family was visiting relatives during the first day of the Muslim Eid Al-Fitr holiday at the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City when their car was targeted in an Israeli airstrike.

"The blood of my sons is not dearer than the blood of our people," Haniyeh, 61, who has 13 sons and daughters according to Hamas sources, told pan-Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera at the time.

Qatar Airways resumes scheduled services to Iran
11:54 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Qatar Airways has resumed its scheduled services to Iran, the airline says in a post on social media platform X.

The airline adds that its scheduled services include 20 weekly flights to four gateways: the Iranian capital Tehran, Mashhad, Shiraz, and Isfahan.

(Reuters, The New Arab)

Iran says seized Israel-linked ship broke maritime law
11:48 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran said on Monday that the Israel-linked ship it seized on the weekend had violated international maritime law and was undergoing "necessary investigations".

Iranian authorities had previously offered little information about why the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized the ship MSC Aries ship near the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday.

"The ship was directed into the territorial waters of Iran because it violated international maritime laws," foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said.

The ship's crew failed to "adequately respond to questions from Iranian authorities", he told a briefing.

"It is certain that this ship belongs to the Zionist regime," Kanani added, referring to Israel.

Israel and the United States have denounced the seizure of the ship as an act of "piracy".


Saudi Arabia gave US details of Iran's attack on Israel
11:13 AM
The New Arab Staff

Saudi Arabia gave the US details of Iran's retaliatory attack on Israel on Saturday ahead of time, American newspaper The Wall Street Journal reports.

Two days prior to Tehran's strike, Iranian officials sketched out details, including of the timing, representatives of the Gulf states including Saudi Arabia to allow to allow them to protect their airspace, according to officials cited by The Journal.

These details were given to the US, providing the Americans and Israelis warning ahead of the attack.

The Journal also reports that both Saudi Arabia and the UAE agreed to share intelligence regarding Tehran's attack.

Gaza toll at 33,797 killed, 76,465 injured, ministry says
10:59 AM
The New Arab Staff

The death toll in Gaza has risen to 33,797 since war broke out on 7 October, the Palestinian enclave's health ministry says.

It adds that 76,465 people have been injured.

The ministry says that Israeli forces carried out seven massacres against "the families in the Gaza Strip" with 68 killed and 94 injured in these attacks arriving at hospitals in the last 24 hours.

Kremlin urges 'restraint' after Iran attack on Israel
10:42 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Kremlin on Monday called for a de-escalation in the Middle East after Iran's unprecedented weekend attack on Israel.

"We are extremely concerned about the escalation of tensions in the region and we call on all countries in the region to exercise restraint. Further escalation is in no one's interests," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

Israel war cabinet to reconvene in Iran standoff: source
10:39 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will at 2pm (11:00 GMT) on Monday reconvene his war cabinet, the forum empowered by other ministers to decide on any action in response to Iran's weekend retaliatory drone and missile attack, a government source said.

The war cabinet, comprising Netanyahu, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, former defence minister Benny Gantz, and several observers, previously met on Sunday night, the source said.


EU's Borrell urges Iran-Israel de-escalation
10:04 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The European Union's foreign policy chief said on Monday the Middle East stood "on the edge of the cliff" and called for de-escalation in the conflict between Israel and Iran.

Iran launched hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel on Saturday night in response to a 1 April Israeli attack on Tehran's consulate in Damascus that killed seven officers of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards including two senior commanders.

"We're on the edge of the cliff and we have to move away from it," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told Spanish radio station Onda Cero.

"We have to step on the brakes and reverse gear."

Borrell said he expected a response from Israel to the unprecedented aerial attack by Iran but hoped it would not spark further escalation.

He said there was "profound division" within Israel's right-wing governing coalition between hardliners seeking fierce retaliation and a "more moderate and sensible" faction.

That faction advocates for retaliation, Borrell said, "but in a way that avoids a response to the response".

Borrell, who spoke with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian late on Sunday, said the EU needed to have the best possible relations with Iran despite the sanctions the bloc has imposed on the Islamic republic over its disputed nuclear energy programme and other issues.

"It's in everyone's interest that Iran does not become a nuclear power and that the Middle East is pacified," he said.


Scholz urges Israel to de-escalate after repelling Iran attk
9:34 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday urged restraint by Israel after it successfully repelled Iran's unprecedented drone and missile attack.

"Everyone agrees that the way in which Israel managed to successfully repel this attack... is really impressive," said Scholz, adding that "that is a success that should not be given away, and therefore our advice is to contribute to de-escalation".

Iran urges West to 'appreciate restraint' towards Israel
9:29 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Tehran on Monday called on Western nations to "appreciate Iran's restraint" towards Israel after it attacked its regional foe in response to a deadly strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus.

"Instead of making accusations against Iran, [Western] countries should blame themselves and answer to public opinion for the measures they have taken against the... war crimes committed by Israel" in its war in Gaza, said Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani.

Kanani said Western countries "should appreciate Iran's restraint in recent months".

Iran airports reopen after attack on Israel: state media
9:19 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Airports in Tehran and elsewhere in Iran resumed operations on Monday, state media said, after a temporary suspension due to an aerial attack on arch foe Israel that heightened regional tensions.

Flights were suspended after Iran launched late on Saturday its first-ever direct attack on Israeli territory, using drones and missiles, in retaliation for a deadly 1 April Israeli strike on Tehran's consulate in Damascus.

The official IRNA news agency reported that "flights at Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran were back to normal as of 6:00am", or 02:30 GMT.

IRNA said the domestic Mehrabad airport in Tehran and others across the country including Tabriz in the northwest, Mashhad in the northeast and Shiraz in the south are all "operating as scheduled".

The Iranian attack and fears of a potential Israeli reprisal have led some airlines to suspend flights to the region.

German airline Lufthansa has suspended its flights to and from Iran, while others including Australian airline Qantas rerouted planes to avoid Iran's airspace.

The attack also prompted several countries in the Middle East including Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq to close their airspace overnight Saturday to Sunday, but all have reopened.

UK's Cameron urges Israel not to retaliate against Iran
8:59 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron urged Israel not to retaliate after Iran's drone and missile attack, saying it should "think with head as well as heart" because Tehran's strike had been a near-total failure.

The strike by more than 300 missiles and drones from Iran caused only modest damage in Israel as most were shot down by its Iron Dome defence system and with help from the US, UK, France, and Jordan. It followed an Israeli strike on Iran's embassy compound in Syria on 1 April.

"I think they're perfectly justified to think they should respond because they have been attacked, but we are urging them as friends to think with head as well as heart, to be smart as well as tough," Cameron told BBC TV.

He said he was urging Israel not to escalate the tensions in the Middle East.

"In many ways this has been a double defeat for Iran. The attack was an almost total failure, and they revealed to the world that they are the malign influence in the region prepared to do this. So our hope is that there won't be a retaliatory response," he told Sky News.

Cameron said Britain would also work with allies to look at imposing more sanctions on Iran, and it urged Israel to return its focus on agreeing a ceasefire with Hamas in the Gaza war.


Hezbollah extends 'blessings' after Iran attack on Israel
8:56 AM
The New Arab Staff

Lebanon's Hezbollah released a statement on Sunday extending what it called its "blessings and congratulations" to Iran's leadership over its "unprecedented attack targeting the unjust aggressor and enemy entity".

In the text released on the group's Al-Ahed news website, Hezbollah called Iran's actions a "brave and wise decision" against Israel's "aggression against the Iranian consulate" in Damascus on 1 April.

The statement followed Hezbollah’s launch of dozens of Katyusha rockets earlier in the day and at the same time as Iran's drone and missile launch late on Saturday. 

Meanwhile, Israel said that it launched strikes targeting several Hezbollah-linked sites across Lebanon yesterday, including on Khiam, Jbaa and Kfarkela in southern Lebanon, and in Nabi Chit in the eastern Bekaa Valley.

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France's Macron: We must avoid escalation in Middle East
8:50 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

France will do all it can to avoid further escalation in the conflict between Israel and Iran in the Middle East, President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday, urging Israel to show restraint in any response.

"We are all worried about a possible escalation," Macron told BFM TV and RMC radio.

Iran launched hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel on Saturday night in response to a deadly Israeli attack on Iran's Damascus consulate on 1 April.

"We will do all we can to avoid things flaring up, escalating, " Macron said, urging Israel to aim to isolate Iran rather than escalate the situation.


Jordan summons Iran ambassador over 'offensive statements'
8:46 AM
The New Arab Staff

Jordan has summoned Iran's ambassador to Amman following what the foreign minister called "offensive statements" after the kingdom's interception of Iranian projectiles alongside the US, the UK, and France over the weekend.

Foreign Minister Ayman Al-Safadi told the Al-Mamlaka TV channel that Jordan had asked Iran to stop "questioning" Jordan's positions on the Palestinian issue, and had "sent a clear message that these insults aimed towards Jordan must stop".

Safadi was referring to "offensive statements made against Jordan in Iranian media" including the official IRNA news agency.

"Iran's problem is with Israel and not with Jordan," Safadi told the channel. 

The development followed a barrage of insulting comments and memes on social media on Sunday aimed at Jordan over its participation in the interceptions.

No imminent response expected from Israel over Iran attack
8:43 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected demands by far-right ministers in his government for an immediate response to Iran’s attack, and a member of the war cabinet said Israel would choose the time to react, according to Israeli media reports.

The Ynet news site said that no Israeli retaliation was expected "for now", following a message of caution to Netanyahu from US President Joe Biden and the success of Israeli and allied air defences in intercepting most of the drones and missiles launched toward Israel.

Benny Gantz, a member of the war cabinet, said that "we will exact the price from Iran in the way and at the time that are right for us", suggesting that no response was imminent. 

Israel's civil defence authorities announced that restrictions on public gatherings and educational activities imposed prior to the Iranian attack had been lifted.