Israel says Iran attack is a 'declaration of war', as UN chief says region 'is on the brink'

Israel says Iran attack is a 'declaration of war', as UN chief says region 'is on the brink'
The region is on edge following Iranian retaliatory strikes on Israel, with Tel Aviv saying on Sunday night that the attack is a 'declaration of war'.
33 min read

Israel's President Isaac Herzog said that the country considers Iran's retaliatory drone and missile strikes 'a declaration of war' in an interview with Sky News on Sunday night.

Despite Herzog saying, "This is like a real war ... I mean, this is a declaration of war," he also added that Israel would exercise restraint.

It is widely believed that Israel will strike back at Iran, but the means and scale of Tel Aviv's response is as yet unknown, with the country's war cabinet having met on Sunday evening. 

Iran has Israel that it will no hesitate to launch a larger attack on its territory should it retaliate against Tehran, adding that US bases would be targeted if Washington backs any Israeli military action against Iran, something the Biden administration has seemingly ruled out.

On the Gaza front, Israel's Mossad spy agency said on Sunday that Palestinian group Hamas had rejected the latest proposal by international mediators for a truce in the Gaza war. However, the group has allegedly sent an alternative proposal, with Israel thought to be unwilling to let displaced Gazans return to the north of the enclave. 

Israel's brutal offensive on Gaza - which has pulled in Iran-backed groups and seen cross-border clashes in south Lebanon, as well as attacks on vessels in the Red Sea and US troops in Iraq and Syria - has killed over 33,600 people, mostly women and children.

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3:23 AM
The New Arab Staff

This live blog is now wrapping up. The New Arab will be back at 9am with live coverage of Gaza and all related events. Thanks to all for following along. 

US destroyed 80 drones, 6 missiles launched from Iran, Yemen
2:01 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

U.S. forces, supported by U.S. European Command destroyers, on Saturday and Sunday destroyed more than 80 one-way attack drones and at least six ballistic missiles aimed at Israel from Iran and Yemen, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said on Monday.

This includes a ballistic missile on its launcher vehicle and seven UAVs destroyed on the ground prior to their launch in areas controlled by Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, CENTCOM said in a post on X.

Iran launched an attack late on Saturday on Israeli territory with drones and missiles in retaliation for a suspected Israeli strike on its embassy compound in Syria on April 1 that killed top Revolutionary Guards commanders.

The attack by more than 300 missiles and drones, mostly launched from inside Iran, caused only modest damage as most were shot down by Israel's Iron Dome defense system and with help from the United States, Britain, France and Jordan.

"CENTCOM remains postured to support Israel’s defense against these dangerous actions by Iran. We will continue to work with all our regional partners to increase regional security," the U.S. military said.

Five injured in Israeli strike near Khan Younis hospital
1:39 AM
The New Arab Staff

According to the Wafa news agency, citing medical sources, five people were injured during an Israeli air raid near the European Hospital south of Khan Younis.

The agency also reported that Israeli forces have been clearing farmland in the Al-Manara neighborhood, southeast of Khan Younis.

Additionally, an Israeli aircraft targeted a commercial warehouse near an entrance to the Nuseirat camp in central Gaza.

Israel's ongoing attacks have targeted Palestinian farms, bakeries, warehouses, and siloes, and restrictions on humanitarian aid deliveries have exacerbated hunger and malnutrition in Gaza

Israel has killed 4 Israelis in West Bank since Friday
1:02 AM
The New Arab Staff

According to a statement on Telegram by the Palestinian Ministry of Health, Israeli forces have shot and killed four civilians in the occupied West Bank since Friday.

The ministry also reported that over 65 other Palestinians were wounded during the same timeframe, with most injuries resulting from gunfire by Israeli forces and settlers.

Furthermore, the ministry noted that since 7 October, Israelis have killed at least 464 Palestinians and injured over 4,800 in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli airstrike kills five civilians in Nuseirat
12:43 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli airstrikes targeted a house northwest of the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on Sunday evening, resulting in five fatalities and injuring numerous others, as reported by the Wafa news agency.

Additionally, Wafa noted that Israeli airstrikes demolished a mosque in Nuseirat and hit a residential tower within the camp.

At UN, Israel urges 'all possible sanctions' against Iran
11:44 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's UN envoy on Sunday urged the Security Council to impose "all possible sanctions" against Iran after the Islamic Republic's unprecedented retaliatory attack against Israel.

"Today the council must take action (and) condemn Iran for their terror," Ambassador Gilad Erdan told the body, calling on countries to "impose all possible sanctions on Iran before it's too late."

Blinken spoke with Jordan, Saudi, Egypt, Turkey over Iran
11:35 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed Iran's attack on Israel in separate calls with Jordanian, Saudi Arabian, Egyptian and Turkish counterparts on Sunday, the State Department said.

Blinken reiterated that the U.S. does not seek escalation and will continue to support Israel's defense.

In his call with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, he also discussed the need to increase humanitarian aid to Gaza, protect Palestinian civilians and achieve an immediate ceasefire that secures the release of all hostages, the State Department said in a series of statements.

Israeli UN envoy compares Iran to the Nazis
10:48 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel’s UN ambassador, Gilad Erdan, said to the UN Security Council: “From the moment I began my tenure here, in every speech and in countless letters, I rang the warning bell regarding Iran.

“I called on this council to take concrete action against the Ayatollah regime. I made it clear that Iran and its hegemonic ambitions of global domination must be stopped before it drives the world to a point of no return, to a regional war that can escalate to a world war.

“Last night, the world witnessed an unprecedented escalation that serves as the clearest proof for what happens when warnings aren’t heeded," he said as quoted by Al Jazeera.

Erdan continued, highlighting the broader ambitions of Iran, “Iran’s goal has been and continues to be world domination by exporting its radical [Shia] revolution across the globe”.

He starkly compared Iran's leadership to the Nazis: “The Islamic regime of today is no different from the Third Reich and Khamenei is no different from Adolf Hitler,” he added.

Russia accuses US and West of hypocrisy over Iran response
10:37 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Vassily Nebenzia, Russia's ambassador to the UN, accused Western nations, including France, the UK, and the US, of "hypocrisy" for their refusal to support a statement condemning the Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate on April 1.

“The outcome is now clear for everyone to see. You know very well that an attack against a diplomatic representative is a casus belli [an act that justifies/provokes war] under international law and if a Western representation had been hit, you would immediately have rained down reprisals,” said Nebenzia.

“This is because, for you, everything that has to do with Western representation and Western citizens is sacred and needs to be protected. But when it comes to other countries, their rights, including their right to self-defence about their nationals, that’s a different matter.

“Today in the Security Council, what we’re witnessing is a display of hypocrisy and double standards which is almost embarrassing to watch.”

UN chief says region 'is on he brink' following Iran attack
9:41 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for maximum restraint on Sunday after Iran's attack on Israel, as he reminded members of the world body that acts of reprisal involving the use of force are barred under international law.

"The Middle East is on the brink. The people of the region are confronting a real danger of a devastating full-scale conflict. Now is the time to defuse and de-escalate," Guterres told a meeting of the U.N. Security Council.

Iran launched the attack over a suspected Israeli strike on its embassy compound in Syria on April 1 that killed top Revolutionary Guards commanders and followed months of clashes between Israel and Iran's regional allies, triggered by the war in Gaza.

Saudi, Qatar FMs discuss regional escalations with Iran
9:34 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah received a phone call from his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian late on Sunday, during which they discussed developments in the region after Iran launched drones and missiles on Israel, Saudi state news agency reported.

"During the call, repercussions from developments in the situation in the region and the increasing escalation against the backdrop of the crisis in Gaza Strip were discussed," a statement from Saudi's foreign ministry said.

Qatar's foreign minister also held a call with Amirabdollahian on Sunday, expressing deep concern over developments in the region and reiterating their commitment to support efforts at achieving stability on all levels, Qatari state media reported.

France summons Iran ambassador over strikes on Israel
8:43 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

France will summon Iran's ambassador over the Islamic Republic's strikes on Israel, vowing a firm approach, the French foreign minister said on Sunday.

"I have asked the foreign ministry to summon the ambassador of Iran tomorrow to express... a message of firmness," the minister, Stephane Sejourne, said on television channel France 2, adding that it was "the Iranians who attacked Israel", despite Israel launching a deadly attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on 1 April. 

Egypt FM urges 'restraint' in calls with Iran, Israel
8:39 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry expressed the need for restraint in phone calls with the foreign ministers of Iran and Israel on Sunday, Egypt said.

Shoukry called on his Iranian and Israeli counterparts "to exercise utmost self-restraint and refrain from provocations that would increase tension and instability in the region," a foreign ministry statement said.

Egypt is ready to intensify its efforts to defuse the current crisis, "which has begun taking a dangerous turn as it coincides with the crisis in the Gaza Strip and adds tension to other hot spots in the region," the statement added.

Shoukry also held a call on Sunday with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to discuss "what has become a serious threat to the security and stability" of the Middle East after Iran launched drones and missile on Israel early on Sunday.

Israeli attack on Iran was 'cancelled at last minute'
8:27 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel's Channel 11 reported on Sunday evening that an Israeli attack on Iran, scheduled for last night, was canceled at the last minute.

The channel explained that during a meeting of the Israeli war cabinet last night, there was a majority in favor of launching an attack on Iran, including Ministers Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, among others, but it was canceled at the last minute.

The channel, citing unnamed sources, says that the cancellation of the attack followed a phone call between US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while other officials said the attack was canceled because the damage from the Iranian response was no significant enough to warrant a rapid response.

US and Iran had contact through Switzerland ahead of attack
8:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

According to Reuters, a high-ranking official in US President Joe Biden's administration revealed that the United States communicated with Iran via Swiss intermediaries before and after Iran's recent drone and missile strike on Israel.

The official chose not to disclose specifics about the interactions, merely stating that the US and Iran engaged in "a series of direct communications through the Swiss channel."

When questioned about the Iranian foreign minister's claim that regional countries were given a 72-hour notice before the attacks, the official refuted this, saying, "They did not give a notification. They were clearly intending to destroy and to cause casualties.

Israeli FM discusses 'Iran regional threat' with Egypt
8:03 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel's Foreign Minister Israel Katz says he spoke to his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry and re-emphasised Israel’s right to defend itself against Iran.

“I stressed that Iran and its proxies are the central threat to stability in the Middle East,” Katz wrote.

“The moderate countries in the region, along with the rest of the world, must act to stop Iran’s aggression. The relationship with Egypt is important, and we will continue to work together to maintain stability and security in the region."

Hezbollah praises Iran's retaliatory attack on Israel
7:58 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah group, which has been exchanging cross-border fire with Israel since the Gaza war erupted, on Sunday congratulated Tehran on its overnight attack on Israel, saying it "achieved" its military objectives.

"Hezbollah presents its congratulations... to the leadership" of Iran and its people for the "unprecedented" attack on Israel, the powerful Lebanese militant group said in a statement.

The Shia Muslim movement also praised Tehran's "brave and wise decision to respond firmly to the Zionist attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus".

The Islamic republic launched more than 300 drones and missiles towards Israel from late Saturday, Israel's military said.

Israel army says Hamas holding hostages in Gaza's Rafah
7:16 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel said Sunday that Hamas is holding hostages in Rafah in southern Gaza, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to launch a ground invasion despite international outcry.

"Hamas is still holding our hostages in Gaza... We also have hostages in Rafah, and we will do everything we can to bring them back home," Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said at a briefing.

Israel military: still on high alert after Iran attack
7:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel remains on high alert after Iran's mass drone and missile attack, its chief military spokesperson said on Sunday.

"We are still on high alert and assessing the situation. Over the last few hours we approved operational plans for both offensive and defensive action," Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in a televised statement.

Israel 'not looking' for escalation with Iran: US
7:08 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to "think carefully" about retaliating for Iran's attacks, and Israel is not seeking to escalate the situation, a US official said Sunday.

"The Israelis made clear to us they're not looking for a significant escalation with Iran," the official told reporters on a call, adding that Biden "made very clear to the prime minister last night that we do have to think carefully and strategically about the risks of escalation."

Jordan's King Abdullah calls for de-escalation in Biden call
6:51 PM
The New Arab Staff

King Abdullah II of Jordan spoke with US President Joe Biden about the current developments in the region and discussed ways to de-escalate tensions and achieve a ceasefire in Gaza.

"During the call, His Majesty the King stressed the need to stop the escalation immediately in the region, warning that any Israeli escalatory measures would lead to expanding the circle of conflict in the region," announced Jordan's monarchy in a social media post.

Turkey warns of regional war if tensions escalate
6:19 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan told his U.S. counterpart Antony Blinken in a call on Sunday that Ankara was worried about the potential spread and escalation of the crisis in the Middle East after Iran's attacks on Israel, a Turkish diplomatic source said.

Fidan told Blinken that the root cause of the crisis in the region was the war in Gaza, and that an immediate ceasefire and unhindered access of humanitarian aid was needed in the enclave, a source told Reuters.

Fidan also urged countries with influence over Israel to send the "correct messages" to prevent further escalating regional tensions. 

“Today, we are clearly communicating our messages to Iranian leaders and Western countries that have with influence over Israel, calling for a halt to the escalation," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said. 


G7 'ready to take measures' against Iran 'destabilisation'
6:05 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

As well as offering their full support to Israel on Sunday following an attack by Iran, G7 leaders have said they "stand ready" to take further action against Tehran.

"We will continue to work to stabilise the situation and avoid further escalation. In this spirit, we demand that Iran and its proxies cease their attacks, and we stand ready to take further measures now and in response to further destabilising initiatives," they said in a statement published by the Italian G7 presidency, following a video meeting.

G7 reaffirm commitment to Israel's security
5:40 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

G7 leaders offered their full support for Israel on Sunday following an attack by Iran, and said they were ready to "take further measures" in response to "further destabilising initiatives".

"We will continue to work to stabilise the situation and avoid further escalation. In this spirit, we demand that Iran and its proxies cease their attacks, and we stand ready to take further measures now and in response to further destabilising initiatives," they said in a statement published by the Italian G7 presidency, following a video meeting.

Iran risks 'uncontrollable regional escalation': G7
5:39 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Leaders of the G7 nations condemned Iran's attack on Israel and said on Sunday that they would work to try to stabilise the situation in the Middle East.

"With its actions, Iran has further stepped toward the destabilisation of the region and risks provoking an uncontrollable regional escalation. This must be avoided," a statement issued by G7 president Italy said after a video conference involving the group's leaders.


Israeli army calling up reservists for more Gaza operations
5:18 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli military will be calling up two reserve divisions for operations in Gaza, it said on Sunday.

"In accordance with the situational assessment, the IDF is calling up approximately two reserve brigades for operational activities on the Gazan front," the Israeli army said.

Earlier this month Israel pulled some forces out of Gaza, which it has been bombing for the past six months and engaged in clashes with Hamas.

Biden convenes G7 to discuss the 'Iranian threat'
5:12 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

President Joe Biden convened the Group of Seven advanced democracies on Sunday to coordinate a rebuke to Iran for its unprecedented aerial attack on Israel and to prevent a wider regional escalation.

"At my direction, to support the defense of Israel, the U.S. military moved aircraft and ballistic missile defense destroyers to the region over the course of the past week," Biden said in a statement late Saturday. "Thanks to these deployments and the extraordinary skill of our service members, we helped Israel take down nearly all of the incoming drones and missiles."

The G7 meeting, Biden said, is intended "to coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack."

Hezbollah praises Iran attack on Israel as 'brave' decision
5:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanese group Hezbollah on Sunday praised Iran's attack on Israel, describing it as a "brave" decision.

Iran-backed Hezbollah added in a statement that Iran had exercised its legal rights despite "threats, intimidation and pressure".

Emirates resumes flights to and from Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq
4:59 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Emirates airlines resumed scheduled operations to and from Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq from Sunday afternoon, a spokesperson said.

G7 condemns Iran attack on Israel, calls for restraint
4:58 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Leaders of G7 nations on Sunday condemned Iran's unprecedented attack on Israel and called for "restraint" from all sides.

"We unanimously condemned Iran's unprecedented attack against Israel", European Council President Charles Michel wrote on X, formerly Twitter, following video talks.

"We will continue all our efforts to work towards de-escalation. Ending the crisis in Gaza as soon as possible, notably through an immediate ceasefire, will make a difference."

Gazans flood road north after 'open checkpoint' rumours
4:52 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 battered Gaza City.

Translation: During their attempt to return to northern Gaza, the Israeli occupation forces targeted displaced people near Al-Rashid Street in the central Gaza Strip.

Israel has chance to form alliance against Iran: Gallant
3:56 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel has an opportunity to form a strategic alliance against Iran after its mass drone and missile attack was jointly repelled, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said on Sunday.

The attack was repelled together with the United States and other countries, Gallant said in a statement.

"We have an opportunity to establish a strategic alliance against this grave threat by Iran which is threatening to mount nuclear explosives on these missiles, which could be an extremely grave threat."

Iran informed Turkey in advance of its attack against Israel
3:21 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran informed Turkey in advance of its planned operation against Israel, a Turkish diplomatic source told Reuters on Sunday, adding that the U.S. conveyed to Iran via Ankara that its operation must be "within certain limits".

Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to the Turkish foreign minister to make clear that escalation in the Middle East was not in anyone's interest.

EU ministers to discuss Iran's attack on Israel on Tuesday
3:19 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The European Union foreign ministers will meet on Tuesday to discuss the escalation in tensions in the Middle East following Iran's strike on Israel, the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Sunday.

"Following the Iranian attacks against Israel, I have called an extraordinary ... meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers on Tuesday," Borrell wrote on X, formerly Twitter. "Our objective is to contribute to de-escalation and security of the region."

Syria says Iran exercised 'right to self-defence'
3:14 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Syria on Sunday said Iran acted in self-defence with a massive overnight attack on Israel that Tehran said was in retaliation for a deadly Israeli airstrike on its consulate in Damascus.

"Iran's response... is a legitimate right to self-defence" against Israel, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian by phone, according to a report carried by state news agency SANA.

Biden tells Netanyahu US will not take part in Iran response
3:04 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

President Joe Biden has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the United States would not participate in any Israeli counter-offensive against Iran, according to reports on Sunday by CNN and the Wall Street Journal.

Speaking with Netanyahu late on Saturday, Biden suggested further response was unnecessary, and senior U.S. officials told their counterparts that the United States would not participate in an offensive response against Iran, CNN and the Wall Street Journal reported.

John Kirby, the White House's top national security spokesperson, told ABC's "This Week" program on Sunday that the United States will continue to help Israel defend itself, but does not want war with Iran.

"We don't seek escalated tensions in the region. We don't seek a wider conflict," Kirby said.

Israel will exact price from Iran when time is right: Gantz
3:04 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel will exact a price from Iran in response to its mass missile and drone attack when the time is right, centrist war cabinet minister Benny Gantz said on Sunday.

"We will build a regional coalition and exact the price from Iran in the fashion and timing that is right for us," Gantz said in a statement as the Israeli war cabinet was due to convene to discuss Israel's response to Iran's attack.

Netherlands advises against all travel to Israel: ANP
2:04 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Dutch government on Sunday advised against all travel to Israel due to the uncertain security situation following overnight air strikes by Iran, news agency ANP reported.

Turkey calls on Iran to avoid a 'new escalation': source
1:22 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkey has called on Iran to avoid a "new escalation", after Middle East tensions soared following Tehran's unprecedented attack on Israel, a diplomatic source said on Sunday.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan spoke by telephone with his Iranian counterpart "and stated that we do not wish for a new escalation in the region", the source said on condition of anonymity.

France says its nationals should 'temporarily leave' Iran
1:21 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

France on Sunday said that its citizens should temporarily leave Iran, as tensions in the region soar following Tehran's unprecedented attack on Israel.

The French embassy in Tehran "recommends to French residents of Iran who can do so to temporarily leave the country", the embassy said in a statement on its website. "They are asked to exercise the utmost caution in travel" and "to avoid any gatherings", it said.

Zelensky urges global response to Iran, Russia 'terror'
1:20 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday condemned Tehran's strikes on Israel and urged a united global response to "terror" attacks by Russia and Iran.

"Iran's actions threaten the entire region and the world, just as Russia's actions threaten a larger conflict," Zelensky wrote on X, saying "the obvious collaboration between the two regimes in spreading terror must face a resolute and united response from the world".

Yemen's Houthis say Iranian attack on Israel is legitimate
1:13 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Yemen's Houthi movement said on Sunday that Iran's attack on Israel was a legitimate act in response to an Israeli strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1.

A Houthi spokesman added that the Yemeni group had been in direct confrontation with Israel since October 7, by attacking the southern Israeli port of Eilat with missiles and drones and by preventing Israeli ships from sailing through the Red Sea.

Iraq president warns against spread of conflict in region
1:07 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iraq's President Abdel Latif Rashid on Sunday called for a "reduction of tensions" in the Middle East after an unprecedented Iranian attack on Israel, warning against the "spread of conflict".

In light of "the latest developments in the region and their repercussions", Rashid emphasised in a statement "the need to stop the aggression against the Gaza Strip and to find a solution to the Palestinian question, given this is a fundamental element to the stability of the region".

Iran notified neigbours of attack 72 hours prior: FM
12:35 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran notified its neighbours of its retaliatory strikes on Israel 72 hours in advance, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Sunday.

"About 72 hours prior to our operations, we informed our friends and neighbours in the region that Iran's response against Israel was certain, legitimate, and irrevocable," Amirabdollahian said at a press conference.

British jets shot down Iranian drones, PM Sunak says
12:26 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Sunday that British military jets shot down drones launched by Iran in its attack on Israel and called for "calm heads to prevail" to avoid an escalation of the conflict.

"I can confirm that our planes did shoot down a number of Iranian attack drones," Sunak told told reporters in Downing Street..

"If this attack had been successful, the fallout for regional stability would be hard to overstate. We stand by the security of Israel and the wider region, which is of course important for our security here at home, too. What we now need is for calm heads to prevail."

Sunak was due to join discussions between Group of Seven leaders later on Sunday.

"It's important that we coordinate with allies and we'll be discussing next steps at that moment," he said.

Sunak added that the world needed "calm heads to prevail" after the strikes.

"We'll be working with our allies to de-escalate the situation and I look forward to speaking to G7 leaders later this afternoon," he said.

We informed US our attacks on Israel will be "limited": Iran
12:22 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran informed the U.S. that its attacks against Israel will be "limited" and for self-defence, Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said in a meeting with foreign ambassadors in Tehran on Sunday.

Israeli army denies letting northern Gaza residents return
12:16 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli army denied on Sunday reports that it was allowing residents of the northern Gaza Strip to return home.

"For your safety, do not approach the forces operating there. The northern Gaza Strip area is still a war zone, and we will not allow a return to it," a military statement said.

At least five people were reportedly shot dead by Israeli troops as they tried returning home in northern Gaza. The bodies, as well as a number of injuries, were taken to Al-Awda Hospital in the Nuseirat Camp.

Iran intel unit warns social media users of pro-Israel posts
11:53 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran's Guards' Intelligence Unit has warned social media users of posting anything deemed to be in support of Israel, according to state media.

Iran's taken Mideast to the 'edge of the precipice': Germany
11:52 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran has taken the Middle East to the "edge of a precipice" with its overnight attack on Israel, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Sunday.

She said Tehran had "plunged an entire region into chaos" and asked all sides to show restraint, adding that the spiralling tensions needed to end.

Pope makes 'pressing appeal' against 'spiral of violence'
11:32 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Pope Francis on Sunday made a "pressing appeal" against a "spiral of violence" after Iran's unprecedented missile and drone attack on Israel, warning of a potential regional conflagration.

"I make an urgent appeal for an end to any action which could fuel a spiral of violence that risks dragging the Middle East into an even greater conflict," the Argentinian pontiff declared following his traditional Sunday prayer in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican.

Lufthansa suspends some Middle East flights until Monday
11:08 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

German airline Lufthansa says it has suspended flights to Amman, Beirut, Erbil and Tel Aviv at least until Monday 15 April, according to a statement.

Iran summons the British, French and German ambassadors
11:05 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran's foreign ministry summoned on Sunday the ambassadors of the United Kingdom, France, and Germany to question what it referred to as their "irresponsible stance" regarding Tehran's retaliatory strikes on Israel, the semi-official Iranian Labour News Agency reported.

The director for Western Europe at Iran's foreign ministry accused the three countries of "double standards" as they opposed earlier this month a Russian-drafted U.N. Security Council statement that would have condemned Israel's attack on Iran's embassy compound in Syria.

"Iran's military action against the Zionist regime's (Israel) bases is well within the framework of the right to legitimate defence stipulated in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and it is in response to a series of crimes, including the recent attack on the embassy compound in Syria," the official added.

Iranian airports cancel flights until Monday morning
10:51 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Several Iranian airports including Tehran's Imam Khomeini International have cancelled flights until Monday, Iranian state media reported on Sunday, as tensions flared in the Middle East with Iran's attack on Israel overnight.

"All flights from Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport have been cancelled until 6 a.m. (0230 GMT) following an announcement by Iran's Civil Aviation Organisation," the airport's executive told the Iranian Student News Agency.

Domestic flights from Tehran's Mehrabad Airport and airports in Shiraz, Isfahan, Bushehr, Kerman, Ilam, and Sanandaj have also been cancelled until Monday morning, according to Iran's Airports and Air Navigation Company, as the country's western airspace remains off limits to flights.

World reactions to Iran strikes on Israel
10:41 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

United States

US President Joe Biden promised "ironclad" support for Israel after holding an urgent meeting with top security officials.

"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, formerly Twitter, posting a picture of the meeting in the White House Situation Room.


Qatar expressed "deep concern" following the strikes and called on "all parties to halt escalation" and "exercise maximum restraint". The gas-rich emirate, which has been engaged in weeks of talks with Israel and Hamas and mediated a hostage exchange between Tehran and Washinton in September urged the international community to "take urgent action to defuse the tension and de-escalate."


UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the "reckless" strikes, which he said "risk inflaming tensions and destabilising the region. Iran has once again demonstrated that it is intent on sowing chaos in its own backyard."

European Union

The European Union's foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said the strikes were "an unprecedented escalation and a grave threat to regional security" in a message on X.

United Nations

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned "the serious escalation represented by the large-scale attack launched on Israel by the Islamic Republic of Iran".

"I am deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation," he added, calling on parties to "avoid any action that could lead to major military confrontations on multiple fronts in the Middle East".


Cairo's foreign ministry expressed its "deep concern" at the escalation of hostilities and called for "maximum restraint".

The ministry's statement also warned of the "risk of the regional expansion of the conflict", and added that Egypt would be "in direct contact with all parties to the conflict to try and contain the situation".

Saudi Arabia

The Saudi foreign ministry voiced its concern at the "military escalation" and called on "all parties to exercise utmost restraint and spare the region and its peoples from the dangers of war".

It went on to urge the UN Security Council "to assume its responsibility towards maintaining international peace and security".


China's foreign ministry also urged restraint, characterising the attack as "the latest spillover of the Gaza conflict" and calling for the implementation of a recent UN Security Council resolution demanding a ceasefire there, saying the "conflict must end now".

"China calls on the international community, especially countries with influence, to play a constructive role for the peace and stability of the region," it added.


French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the attack, and urged restraint.

"I condemn in the strongest terms the unprecedented attack launched by Iran against Israel, which carries the risk of destabilising the region," Macron said on X.

"This is an expression of my solidarity with the Israeli people and of the importance we attach to the security of Israel, of our partners and to regional stability," he said. "France is working with its partners towards de-escalation and calls for restraint."


German Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned the Iranian attack as "irresponsible and unjustifiable," saying "Iran risks a regional conflagration," his spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said.

"In these difficult times, Germany stands by Israel's side," added Hebestreit.


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Ottawa "unequivocally condemns Iran's airborne attacks", adding: "We stand with Israel."


Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called for restraint, saying Madrid "will always condemn all forms of violence which threaten the security and the well-being of innocent civilians."

"The response from all international leaders requires responsibility and restraint. We must learn the lessons of history and find a means of resolving conflicts diplomatically, avoiding further escalation at all costs," he said


Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni Meloni condemned the attack and said she feared "destabilisation of the region" which "we are continuing to work to avoid."


Ukraine's foreign ministry said Kyiv "strongly condemns Iran's massive air attack" which also "demonstrates why it is critical that all of the free world's forces are consolidated to defend the global borders of democracy."

South Korea

South Korea has "strongly" condemned Iran's overnight attack on Israel also.

Israeli war cabinet to meet at 1230 GMT: Israeli official
10:40 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

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

Gaza death toll reaches 33,729: health ministry
10:27 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip has killed at least 33,729 Palestinians and wounded 76,371 since October 7, Gaza's health ministry said on Sunday.

There have been 43 Palestinians killed and 62 wounded in the past 24 hours, the ministry statement added.

NATO condemns Iran attack as escalation, calls for restraint
10:18 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

NATO has condemned the Iranian attack on Israel as an "escalation," calling for restraint.

Raisi vows 'stronger response' to any 'reckless' Israel move
10:14 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran's president Ebrahim Raisi warned Sunday 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 behavior, they will receive a decisive and much stronger response," Raisi said in a statement.

Russia expresses extreme concern, calls for restraint
10:13 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russia's foreign ministry expressed "extreme concern over another dangerous escalation" in the Middle East on Sunday and called for restraint after Iranian strikes on Israel.

Several Iran domestic flights cancelled until Monday morning
10:13 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Tehran's Mehrabad airport and airports in several other Iranian cities have cancelled domestic flights until Monday morning due to Middle East tensions, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Sunday, as the country's western airspace remains off limits to flights.

America does not want war in Middle East: Russia's Medvedev
10:12 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday that a war between Israel and Iran would worsen Joe Biden's prospects of being re-elected U.S. president.

"America does not want a big war in the Middle East," Medvedev said on Telegram. "The killings in Gaza worsen Biden's prospects in the elections, and war between Israel and Iran would introduce additional uncertainty."

End escalation to avoid dangerous repercussions: UAE FM
10:10 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Arab Emirates called for the exercise of the utmost restraint to avoid dangerous repercussions in the Middle East, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

The UAE also called for resolving conflicts through dialogue and diplomatic channels.

Flights from Israel resume after airspace reopened
9:29 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli airlines said operations were returning to normal on Sunday after an overnight attack by Iranian missiles and drones closed the airspace and led to flight cancellations.

Israel reopened its airspace as of 7:30 a.m. (0430 GMT) on Sunday, adding that flight schedules from Tel Aviv were expected to be affected and travellers should check flight times before going to Ben Gurion International Airport.

Flag carrier El Al said it had resumed operations and was "working to stabilise the flight schedule as soon as possible".

"El Al will continue to operate as much as possible to preserve the air bridge to and from Israel," it said.

Smaller Israeli carrier Arkia said it was in the process of making adjustments to its flight schedule after initially postponing flights to Athens, Milan and Geneva.

Most Iran drones flying over Syria downed by Israel: Intel
9:26 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Most of the Iranian drones flying over Syria's airspace during Tehran's strikes overnight were downed by Israeli and U.S. jets before reaching their targets in Israel, two Western intelligence sources said on Sunday.

They told Reuters the aerial interceptions shot down dozens of missiles and drones fired by Iran that flew above southern Syria in the Daraa province, the Syrian Golan Heights and several locations in eastern Syria along the border with Iraq.

Hezbollah says launched new rocket barrage at Golan Heights
9:13 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hezbollah said on Sunday that it had launched a fresh barrage of rockets towards the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights, hours after it joined in a major Iranian drone and missile attack targeting Israel.

Iran-backed Hezbollah, which has regularly traded cross-border fire with Israel since the start of the ongoing war in Gaza, said in a statement that it had launched "dozens of Katyusha rockets" at three Israeli military positions in the Golan, which Israel seized from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967.

Translation: Scenes from the missile strikes launched by Hezbollah a short while ago on an Israeli military base in the occupied Golan

Hezbollah source says Israel struck position in east Lebanon
9:10 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A source within Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah group said Israel struck Sunday one of its 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 group told AFP, adding there were no casualties.

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

Videos shared online showed smoke billowing from an area said to be between the villages of Sar'een and Nabi Sheet, in the Baalbek district.

Israel's Mossad says Hamas rejected Gaza truce proposal
9:09 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's Mossad spy agency said on Sunday that Palestinian militant group Hamas had rejected the latest proposal by international mediators for a truce in the war in Gaza.

"The rejection of the proposal... proves that (Hamas chief in Gaza Yahya) Sinwar does not want a humanitarian deal and the return of the hostages, is continuing to exploit the tension with Iran" and is aiming for "a general escalation in the region", Mossad said in a statement released by the Israeli prime minister's office.

Jordan says intercepted 'flying objects' during Iran attack
9:07 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Jordan on Sunday said it had intercepted "flying objects" that breached its airspace overnight as Iran launched an unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel.

"Some flying objects that entered our airspace last night were dealt with and confronted," the government said in a statement, stressing that the military "will confront anything that would expose the security and safety of the nation... to any danger or transgression by any party".

Israel's Netanyahu vows 'victory' after Iran strikes
9:05 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Israel would achieve victory after the military said it shot down almost all the more than 300 drones and missiles launched by Iran in a sharp escalation of the Middle East conflict.

"We intercepted, we repelled, together we shall win," Netanyahu posted on X.

Hamas says Iran's attack on Israel was 'natural right'
9:04 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Palestinian group Hamas, which has been locked in a war with Israel in Gaza for more than six months, defended Iran's attack on Israel that began on Saturday.

"We in Hamas regard the military operation conducted by the Islamic Republic of Iran a natural right and a deserved response on the crime of targeting the Iranian consulate in Damascus and the assassination of several leaders of the Revolutionary Guards," said Hamas in a statement.

Emirates airlines cancels some flights following Iran attack
9:03 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Emirates Airlines announced the cancellation of some of its flights and the re-routing of others, the airline's spokesperson said on Sunday, following the aftermath of Iran's attack on Israel.

Iran says retaliation concluded, warns Israel not to respond
9:02 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran on Sunday urged Israel not to retaliate militarily to an unprecedented attack overnight, which Tehran presented as a justified response to a strike that destroyed its consulate building in Damascus earlier this month.

"The matter can be deemed concluded," Iran's mission to the United Nations said in a post on X just a few hours after the start of the operation late Saturday.

"However, should the Israeli regime make another mistake, Iran's response will be considerably more severe," the Iranian mission warned.

No Iranian leaders have spoken out to justify the attack, which marked the first time Iran has launched a direct military assault on Israeli territory.

G7 leaders to discuss Iranian attack in Sunday video call
9:00 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Italy has called a video meeting of G7 leaders on Sunday to discuss the Iranian attack, on Israel, sources in the prime minister's office said.

The call will be held in the early afternoon, European time. Italy currently holds the rotating G7 presidency.

Israel says France helped in defence against Iran attack
8:59 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's chief military spokesperson said on Sunday that France was among the countries involved in defending against Iran's overnight attack on Israel.

"France has very good technology, jets, radar - and I know they were contributing in patrolling airspace," he said, adding that he did not have exact details on whether French jets had shot down any of the missiles launched by Iran.

Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon reopen airspace after Iran attacks
8:58 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon have reopened their airspace on Sunday 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.

Japan strongly condemns Iran attack, calling it "escalation"
8:57 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Japan strongly condemned a retaliatory attack by Iran on Israel, calling it an escalation of events and saying it was deeply concerned at the situation, in a statement released by the foreign minister on Sunday.

"This attack is one that further worsens the current Middle East situation. We are deeply concerned and strongly condemn this sort of escalation," the statement said.

Biden says US helped Israel down nearly all Iran attacks
8:56 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

President Joe Biden said US forces helped Israel shoot down nearly all the drones and missiles fired by Iran Saturday, but appeared to guide the key US ally away from retaliating against Tehran by saying Israel had now shown its strength.

The US president said he had called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reaffirm Washington's "ironclad" support for Israel, after recent tense relations over Israel's war in Gaza.

"I told him that Israel demonstrated a remarkable capacity to defend against and defeat even unprecedented attacks - sending a clear message to its foes that they cannot effectively threaten the security of Israel," he said.

He said he had ordered US military aircraft and ballistic missile defense destroyers to the Middle East in recent days, as the likely threat following a presumed Israeli strike on Iranians in Damascus became clear.

"Thanks to these deployments and the extraordinary skill of our service members, we helped Israel take down nearly all of the incoming drones and missiles," Biden said.

Israel: 99% of 300 missiles, drones fired by Iran shot down
8:55 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel overnight, 99% of which were shot down, the Israeli military said on Sunday, adding that the armed forces remained fully functional and were discussing follow-up options.

In a televised briefing, chief military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari deemed Iran's actions "very grave" and said they "push the region toward escalation".

Attack on Israel 'achieved all its objectives': Iranian army
8:53 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Iranian army said Sunday its drone and missile attack on Israel, in retaliation for a deadly strike on Iran's Damascus consulate, has "achieved all its objectives".

"Operation Honest Promise... was completed successfully from last night to this morning and achieved all its objectives", Mohammad Bagheri, the Iranian armed forces' chief of staff, told state TV.

Bagheri said the retaliatory attack targeted an "intelligence centre" and the air base from which Tehran says the Israeli F-35 jets took off to strike the Damascus consulate.

"Both these centres were significantly destroyed and put out of order," he said, though Israel maintains that the attack only resulted in minor damage.

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"We see this operation as complete, and this operation has ended in our opinion," Bagheri said.

"There is no intention to continue this operation," he said, calling on Israel to avoid taking further action against Iran which according to Bagheri would result in a "much bigger" response.

The army chief also warned the United States against aiding any Israeli action against Iran.

"We sent a message to America through the Swiss embassy that if it cooperates with Israel in their next potential actions, their bases will not be secure," he added.