'Israeli drones' shot down after blasts shook Iran's Isfahan

'Israeli drones' shot down after blasts shook Iran's Isfahan
Iranian state media reported that Iran has downed three drones over Isfahan, following explosions heard in the central Iranian province.
22 min read

Iranian air defences have shot down three small drones over Iran's city of Isfahan, after Iran's state media reported explosions in the central province of Isfahan on Friday.

US media quoted officials saying Israel had carried out retaliatory strikes on its arch-rival.

Air defence systems over several Iranian cities were activated, state media reported, after the country's official broadcaster said explosions were heard near the city of Isfahan.

Israel had previously warned it would retaliate after Iran fired hundreds of missiles and drones at Israel almost a week ago, in retaliation for a deadly strike -- which Tehran blamed on its foe -- that levelled Iran's consular annex at its embassy in Syria.

There had been no reaction from Israeli or Iranian officials to the overnight strikes and the extent of the damage remained unclear.

6:04 PM

TNA’s live coverage of the latest from the war on Gaza concludes for today. Join us again tomorrow at 0800 GMT for updates from the besieged Palestinian enclave.


France, Italy take part in talks with Lebanon army officials
5:32 PM
The New Arab Staff

An unnamed source for the Lebanese armed forces spoke to The New Arab's sister news publication Al Araby Jadeed on talks in Paris regarding stability in the Middle East- following the arrival of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati and the country’s army chief Joseph Aoun on Friday.

The source added that discussions primarily focused on supporting the army amid ongoing hostilities between Hezbollah and Israel amid the war on Gaza.

Additionally, they also told Al Araby Jadeed that a newly formed committee that consists of  Italy, France and Lebanon is set "to discuss the army’s needs". 

French President Emmanuel Macron greets Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati [GETTY]
Iran says US veto of Palestine UN membership 'irresponsible'
4:53 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Tehran said Friday that Washington's use of its veto to block full United Nations membership for Palestine was "irresponsible" given the lack of opposition from any other Security Council member.

Thursday's vote saw 12 countries on the Security Council back a resolution recommending full Palestinian membership and two -- Britain and Switzerland -- abstain.

Only Israel's staunchest ally, the United States, voted against, using its veto to block the resolution.

"Washington's action exposed the fraudulent nature of US foreign policy and its isolated position," foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said.

He described the US move as "irresponsible" and "unconstructive."

Gaza boat is set to take off to deliver '5000 tons' of aid
4:49 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

People have arrived in Istanbul, Turkey in "hundreds" to join the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which aims to deliver "over 5,000 tons of humanitarian aid" to the besieged enclave.

"The Freedom Flotilla Coalition stands here to remind the world that with all the escalation between Israel and Iran, the killing is occurring in Gaza," the coalition said in a statement.

"While those two countries go back and forth, we cannot let Israel distract the world from what is causing far more death, disease, and destruction: Israel’s policies of starving and continued bombardment of unarmed Palestinians in Gaza, mostly women and children."

Leader of the Tulkarem resistance brigade killed by Israel
4:43 PM
The New Arab Staff

 Four Palestinian resistance fighters have been killed by Israeli forces, including the brigade's leader Mohammed Jaber, Al Jazeera English reports.

This comes after Israeli forces have been conducting a raid on the Nur Shams refugee camp, located east of Tulkarem in the occupied West Bank.

 The news publication added that the four bodies of the Palestinian fighters were also taken into Israeli custody.

The leader Jaber was targeted in the past, and his brother was killed in December.

US sanctions fundraisers for extremist West Bank settlers
4:37 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Biden administration on Friday imposed sanctions on two entities accused of fundraising for extremist Israeli-occupied West Bank settlers who have harassed and attacked Palestinians, as well as the founder of an organization whose members regularly assault Palestinians.

The Treasury Department announcement comes as the West Bank has seen some of its worst violence perpetrated by extremist settlers against Palestinians since the war in nearby Gaza began.

Included in the Friday sanctions are two entities — Mount Hebron Fund and Shlom Asiraich — accused of raising funds for sanctioned settlers Yinon Levi and David Chai Chasdai .

The fundraising campaigns established by Mount Hebron Fund for Levi and by Shlom Asiraich for Chasdai generated the equivalent of $140,000 and $31,000, respectively, according to U.S. Treasury.

The penalties aim to block them from using the U.S. financial system and bar American citizens from dealing with them.

Additionally, the State Department is designating Ben-Zion Gopstein, the founder and leader of Lehava, an organization whose members have assaulted Palestinian civilians.

Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo said the organizations "undermine the peace, security, and stability of the West Bank. We will continue to use our tools to hold those responsible accountable.”

In February, Biden issued an executive order that targets Israeli settlers in the West Bank who have been accused of attacking Palestinians and Israeli peace activists in the occupied territory.

UAE: Full Palestinian UN membership would boost peace effort
4:35 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Arab Emirates said on Friday that granting Palestinians full membership in the United Nations would be "an important step to boost peace efforts in the region", the state news agency (WAM) reported, after the UN Security Council rejected a resolution to that effect. 

Shipping industry urges UN to protect vessels after Iran
4:22 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Merchant ships and seafarers are increasingly in peril at sea as attacks escalate in the Middle East and the United Nations must do more to protect supply chains, the industry said in a letter released on Friday.

In a letter sent on Thursday to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the world's leading shipping industry associations said Iran's seizure on April 13 of the MSC Aries container ship 50 nautical miles off the United Arab Emirates coast "once again highlighted the intolerable situation where shipping has become a target".

"Innocent seafarers have been killed, seafarers are being held hostage," the letter said.

"The world would be outraged if four airliners were seized and held hostage with innocent souls onboard. Regrettably, there does not seem to be the same response or concern (for ships an their crew members)."

The industry letter said "seafarers and the maritime sector are neutral and must not be politicised".

"Given the continually evolving and severe threat profile within the area, we call on you for enhanced co-ordinated military presence, missions and patrols in the region, to protect our seafarers against any further possible aggression," the letter added.

UN officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Turkish, Iranian FMs discuss Middle East developments
3:58 PM
The New Arab Staff

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian discussed the ongoing developments in the region over the phone, following explosions that were heard in Isfahan, Turkish news agency Anadolu reports.

Anadolu quoted sources who stated that the phone call was requested by the Iranians and did not disclose further information. 

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan [Getty]
Gazans say Israeli strike on Iran 'just a show': AFP
3:52 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Gazans in the besieged southern city of Rafah told news agency AFP they believed Israel's reported strike against Iran on Friday was little more than a show -- and called for peace in the region.

"As everybody knows, this is all staged and agreed upon in advance from both sides," resident Alaa Abu Taha told the agency.

"If someone wants to strike, they don't give prior warning or threaten before."

Rafah resident Iyad Labbad thinks "nothing will happen" after the reported strikes. "There will be no regional conflict. It's just a show," he said.

He said Iran struck "empty areas" in Israel, which had chosen to "retaliate by striking empty areas" in Iran.

"The war between Iran and Israel will halt soon," he said. "This is all for nothing."

Complex medical equipment 'purposefully broken' in Gaza
3:06 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The UN decried Friday the intentional destruction of complex and hard-to-obtain medical equipment in Gaza's beleaguered hospitals and maternity wards, further deepening risks to women already giving birth in "inhumane, unimaginable conditions".

Recent United Nations-led missions to 10 Gaza hospitals found many "in ruins" and just a couple capable of providing any level of maternal health services, said Dominic Allen, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) representative for the State of Palestine.

He said that what the teams found at the Nasser hospital complex, long besieged by Israeli forces during their operations in the southern city of Khan Younis, "breaks my heart".

Speaking to journalists in Geneva via video-link from Jerusalem, he described seeing "medical equipment purposefully broken, ultrasounds -- which you will know, is a very important tool for helping ensure safe births -- with cables that have been cut".

"Screens of complex medical equipment, like ultrasounds and others with the screens smashed," he added.

The World Health Organization has described the difficulty of bringing such equipment into Gaza even before October 7.

Only 10 of Gaza's 36 hospitals are currently even partially functioning.

And Allen said that only three of those were now capable of providing assistance to the estimated 180 women giving birth across Gaza every single day -- around 15 percent of whom suffer complications requiring significant care.

No explosives found after alert from Iran consulate in Paris
2:58 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

French police on Friday found no explosives at the Iranian consulate in Paris or on a suspect detained there, prosecutors said, after the mission reported a man had entered with ammunition.

"No explosive materials have been observed at this stage, either on him or on site," the Paris prosecutor's office said.

Police arrested the man, born in Iran in 1963, when he exited after appearing to have "threatened violent action" inside, it said.

EU sanctions four 'extremist' Israeli settlers
2:38 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The European Union on Friday imposed sanctions on four "extremist" Israeli settlers and two groups over violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, Brussels said.

The decision was the second part of an agreement among EU member states that saw Hamas last week sanctioned over sexual violence during the October 7 attack on Israel.

The move to target violent settlers in the West Bank comes two months after the United States and Britain took similar steps.

The EU put two "radical" organisations Lehava and the Hilltop Youth on its asset freeze and visa ban blacklist for their attacks on Palestinians.

It also included Hilltop Youth leaders Meir Ettinger and Elisha Yered, along with settlers Neria Ben Pazi and Yinon Levi.

"The listed individuals and entities are responsible for serious human rights abuses against Palestinians," said an EU statement.

It said abuses included "torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" and "the violation of right to property and to private and family life of Palestinians in the West Bank."

The West Bank, which Israel has occupied since 1967, has seen a surge in violence in the past year, particularly since the war erupted in Gaza.

At least 468 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers across the West Bank since the October 7 Hamas assault on Israel.

Gaza death toll exceeds 34,000: health ministry
2:33 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The health ministry in Gaza has issued an update on the devastated territory since October 7, which has included the death toll increasing to 34,012 and 76,833 Palestinians who are injured.

It added that Israeli forces have also killed 42 and 63 Palestinians were taken to hospitals for injuries in the past 24 hours.

Hamas official: Israeli 'aggression' on Iran is escalation
2:28 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's "aggression" on Iran is an escalation against the region, senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told news agency Reuters on Friday.

"We call for expanding the scale of the engagement against the (Israeli) occupation in response to the war of genocide in Gaza and the escalation in the region," said Abu Zuhri.

Hamas leaders have frequently praised Iran for its financial and military support to the group, and other Palestinian groups, including amid Israel's war on Gaza which began on Oct 7.

UN chief appeals for end to 'dangerous cycle of retaliation'
1:38 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday that "it is high time to stop the dangerous cycle of retaliation in the Middle East," his spokesperson said in a statement.

"The Secretary-General condemns any act of retaliation and appeals to the international community to work together to prevent any further development that could lead to devastating consequences for the entire region and beyond," Stephane Dujarric said.

Man threatens to blow himself up in Iran consulate in Paris
1:34 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

French police cordoned off the Iranian consulate in Paris on Friday, where a man was threatening to blow himself up, Europe 1 radio and BFM TV.

Police said they were on the scene and have asked the public to avoid the area.

Service was interrupted on a nearby metro line for security reasons, the RATP metro company said. 

UAE, Jordan and more call for de-escalation
1:16 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

More countries including UAE, Jordan and Germany have shared their concerns on added regional hostilities. 

Here are more reactions to the Israeli military response, from official statements and postings on social media:

Jordan Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi

"We warn against the danger of regional escalation. We condemn all actions that threaten dragging the region into war. Israeli-Iranian retaliations must end. The inhumane war on Gaza must end now. The focus of the world must remain on ending the catastrophic aggression on Gaza."

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz

"De-escalation remains the order of the day in the near future. And we will also talk about this with all our friends and allies, and work together with them in this direction."


"The (foreign) ministry affirmed the importance of reaching substantial solutions to the ongoing disputes and crises in the region aimed at de-escalating tensions, in addition to resolving conflicts through dialogue and diplomatic channels, and for adhering to the rule of law and respecting the United Nations Charter."

Ben Saul, UN special rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights

"Israel's latest strikes on Iran are another violation of the prohibition on the use of military force under international law & the UN Charter, and threaten the human right to life."

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi

"Japan is deeply concerned about the situation in the Middle East and strongly condemn any actions that lead to the escalation of the situation.

"Japan will continue to make all necessary diplomatic efforts to prevent the situation from worsening further."

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson

China opposes any action escalating tensions in the Middle East after the Israeli attack on Iran.

Iranian armed forces prepped for further air attacks
1:12 PM
The New Arab Staff

The commander-in-chief of the ground forces of Iran's army, says the country must remains vigilant in order to confront any other potential air attacks.

"If suspicious flying objects appear in the sky of the country, they will be targeted by our powerful air defence,"  Kioumars Heydari was quoted as saying by state-run IRNA on Friday.

"Even though last night’s objects were suspicious, our country’s defences reacted intelligently."

Heydari added that Iran’s April 13 retaliatory attacks on Israel "showed that the Islamic republic has the upper hand in the region and can establish security without the interference of any foreign power."

Israel gave US last-minute warning about Iran attack: Italy
1:03 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 The United States told the Group of Seven foreign ministers on Friday that it received "last minute" information from Israel about a drone action in Iran, Italy’s foreign minister said.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, who chaired the meeting of ministers of industrialized countries, said the United States provided the information at a Friday morning session that was changed at the last minute to address the suspected attack.

Tajani said the US informed the G7 ministers that it had been "informed at the last minute" by Israel about the drones. "But there was no sharing of the attack by the US It was a mere information."

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken declined to comment on the assertion, but emphasized that the US was not involved in any attack.

“I’m not going to speak to that except to say that the United States has not been involved in any offensive operations,” Blinken said.

Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Antonio Tajani at G7 meeting in Capri, Italy [Getty]
Blinken says US 'not involved in any offensive operation'
12:59 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States was "not involved in any offensive operation", US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday following reports that Israel had carried out revenge strikes on Iran.

"I'm not going to speak to these reported events... All I can say is for our part and for all the members of the G7 our focus is on de-escalation", Blinken told a press conference on the Italian island of Cap

Blinken also said the US was committed to Israel's security, adding when asked about Israel's strikes on Iran that the US has not been involved in any offensive operation.

Speaking after the G7 gathering in Italy, he urged the rapid implementation of Israel's humanitarian assistance commitments, saying while there had been some important steps taken, more sustained results were needed.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken gives a press conference after G7 meeting [Getty]
Lufthansa group suspends Israel, Iraq flights to Saturday
12:56 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

German airline group Lufthansa has suspended flights to Israel and Iraq until early Saturday after Israel reportedly carried out retaliatory strikes against arch-foe Iran.

Services by airlines of the group to Tel Aviv in Israel and Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan were suspended until 0500 GMT due to the "current situation", a spokesman told news agency AFP.

Iran's president makes no mention of explosions
12:31 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi on Friday hailed Tehran's unprecedented retaliatory attack on Israel almost a week ago but did not mention explosions heard in his country's central region.

That operation "showed our authority, our people's will of steel and our unity," Raisi told hundreds of people in Semnan province, east of Tehran.

In the speech, he made no reference to the blasts, and there has been no official reaction either from Iranian or Israeli officials.

The blasts resounded early Friday in the central province of Isfahan, state media said.

Iran's space agency spokesman Hossein Dalirian, referring to a type of drone, said there was "a failed and humiliating attempt to fly quad-copters, which were shot down."

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, he denied Iran had been attacked from abroad.

"There have been no air attacks from outside the borders against Isfahan or other parts of the country so far," he said.

Iran's army commander-in-chief Abdolrahim Mousavi attributed Friday's explosions to "the firing of anti-aircraft defence systems on a suspicious object."

He said there was "no damage" and that investigations were underway to assess the scale of the incident, according to Tasnim news agency.

Russia: We told Israel 'Iran does not want escalation'
12:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russia has made clear to Israel that Iran "does not want escalation", Moscow's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday, after reports Israel had carried out retaliatory strikes against its arch-rival.

"There have been telephone contacts between the leadership of Russia and Iran, our representatives and the Israelis. We made it very clear in these conversations, we told the Israelis that Iran does not want escalation," Lavrov said in an interview with Russian radio stations.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov [Getty]
G7 opposes 'full scale military operation in Rafah'
12:13 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven nations said Friday they opposed a "full-scale military operation in Rafah" by Israel as that would have "catastrophic consequences on the civilian population".

Ministers from Italy, the UK, US, France, Germany, Japan and Canada also slammed the "unacceptable number of civilians" killed in Gaza during Israel's military offensive.

Israel has vowed to send troops into Gaza's overcrowded Rafah area in its war on the besieged territory.

"We reiterate our opposition to a full scale military operation in Rafah that would have catastrophic consequences on the civilian population," the ministers said in a statement.

Israel has faced growing global opposition to the relentless war that has reduced much of Gaza to rubble, while its 2.4 million people have suffered under an Israeli siege.

"We deplore all losses of civilian lives," G7 ministers said at meeting on Italy's island of Capri.

They said they "note with great concern the unacceptable number of civilians, including thousands of women, children and persons in vulnerable situations who have been killed in Gaza".

Israel's offensive has killed at least 33,970 people in Gaza, mostly women and children. according to Gaza's health ministry.

Spanish PM calls for 'no escalation of conflict' in MidEast
12:03 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called Friday for all sides to avoid "an escalation of the conflict in the Middle East" after reports that Israel carried out retaliatory strikes on Iran.

"We must avoid any action that would lead to an escalation of the conflict in the Middle East. The seriousness of the moment demands responsibility and restraint from all parties," he wrote on X.

More international reactions after Israel's reported attack
11:01 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Further international reactions Friday after Israel's reported attack on the Iranian province of Isfahan, where it has military bases and nuclear facilities:


"China opposes any actions that further escalate tensions and will continue to play a constructive role to de-escalate the situation," said foreign ministry spokesman Lin Jian.

UN nuclear watchdog

"IAEA can confirm that there is no damage to Iran's nuclear sites. Director General Rafael Grossi continues to call for extreme restraint from everybody and reiterates that nuclear facilities should never be a target in military conflicts. IAEA is monitoring the situation very closely," the International Atomic Energy Agency said on X.

UK's added comments

"We have condemned Iran's reckless and dangerous barrage of missiles against Israel on Saturday and Israel absolutely has a right to self-defence. But as I said to Prime Minister Netanyahu when I spoke to him (this week) and more generally, significant escalation is not in anyone's interest, what we want to see is calm heads prevail across the region," Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.


"This is something we from the government's side take very seriously and are following very closely," Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said.

"There has to be an end to the exchange of blows and escalation."

UK PM Sunak: Not right for me to speculate on Iran attacks
10:45 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he would not speculate on reports Israel had carried out an attack on Iranian soil on Friday.

"It's a developing situation, it wouldn't be right for me to speculate until the facts become clearer and we're working to confirm the details together with allies," Sunak said.

Sunak made the comments following a speech in central London.

"Significant escalation is not in anyone's interest. What we want to see is calm heads prevail across the region," he added.

Biden considers more than $1 bln in new arms for Israel: WSJ
10:41 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Biden administration is considering more than $1 billion in new weapons deals for Israel, including tank ammunition, military vehicles and mortar rounds, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing US officials.

Airlines reroute flights after Israeli attack on Iran
9:53 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Airlines quickly changed flight paths over Iran, diverted to alternate airports or returned planes to their departure points on Friday in response to airspace and airport closures after an Israeli attack on Iran, flight tracking data showed.

Iran closed its airports in Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan after the attack and cleared flights from the western portion of its airspace for a few hours after the attack, according to flight tracking website FlightRadar24.

By 0445 GMT the airports and airspace had reopened, and closure notices posted on a US Federal Aviation Administration database had been removed.

Before the airports reopened, Flydubai said it had cancelled its Friday flights to Iran. One of its earlier flights turned back to Dubai, it said.

An Iran Air flight from Rome to Tehran was diverted to Ankara, Turkey, Flightradar 24 showed.

Emirates, Flydubai, Turkish Air, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi and Belavia were among the carriers continuing to fly over the part of Iran's airspace that remained open in the initial hours after the attack early on Friday, the tracking website showed.

The airspace and airport closures in Iran compounded a difficult week for Dubai-based carriers after record rainfall in the United Arab Emirates.

Since Tuesday, 1,478 flights have been cancelled to and from Dubai, approximately 30% of all flights, according to FlightRadar24.

Many Western and Asian airlines had already been steering clear of Iran and its airspace before the Israeli attack, which came days after Iran's missile and drone attack on Israel.

EU chief urges restraint after reported strike on Iran
9:49 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen called Friday for restraint to avoid further escalation in the Middle East, following reports that Israel carried out a strike on Iran.

"We have to do everything possible (so) that all sides restrain from the escalation in that region," von der Leyen told reporters during a visit to Finland, adding: "It is absolutely necessary that the region stays stable and that all sides refrain from further action."

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen [Getty]
Australia tells citizens to depart Israel, Palestine
9:46 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Australia on Friday told its citizens to leave Israel if possible, citing a "high threat of military reprisals and terrorist attacks", issuing a similar warning for the occupied Palestinian territories.

"We urge Australians in both Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories to depart if it's safe to do so," the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a travel advisory update.

Australia's government had previously told citizens to avoid travel to both areas if possible and, if concerned, to leave.

This more urgent warning came as Israel and Iran traded direct aerial barrages, dramatically escalating animosities after years of indirect and covert clashes.

"Military attacks may result in airspace closures, flight cancellations and diversions and other travel disruptions," Australia's diplomats said.

"Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport may pause operations due to heightened security concerns at any time, and at short notice."

US embassy in Israel tells employees to limit movement
9:45 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States embassy in Israel on Friday told its employees and their families to restrict their movements after reports that Israel conducted a strike inside Iran.

"Out of an abundance of caution following reports that Israel conducted a retaliatory strike inside Iran, US government employees and their family members are restricted from personal travel outside the greater Tel Aviv" area as well as the Jerusalem and Beersheva areas "until further notice," a security advisory issued by the mission on its website said.

Due to a "complex" security environment that "can change quickly," the embassy "may further restrict or prohibit" the concerned people from travelling to parts of Israel, Jerusalem's Old City, and the occupied West Bank, the advisory read.

Israeli far-right minister Ben-Gvir on X: ‘Feeble!’
9:05 AM
The New Arab Staff

 Israeli security minister has written “Feeble!” on social media platform X, as what is seemingly a response to the alleged Israeli strike in Iran.

Itamar Ben-Gvir’s one-word posting comes after reports of three explosions near a military base in the province of Isfahan.

The official news agency IRNA said there was "no major damage".

Isfahan to hold demonstration for Gaza following attack
8:55 AM
The New Arab Staff

Following reports of explosiosn near the city of Isfahan, residents will hold a demonstration in support of besieged Palestinians in Gaza, the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) announced.

Protesters are set to march across the city after the Friday prayers as it resumes "back to normal", ISNA said.

ISNA added that operations at Isfahan’s Shahid Beheshti Airport are also back to normal.

It emphasised that there were not not any casualties or damage- in accordance to the comments of Brigadier General Siavash Mihandoost, the military chief in Isfahan, who said that there was "no accident or damage" reported in Isfahan after the explosions.

A man watches tv reporter in Tehran, Iran after Iranian TV confirms blasts [Getty]
The Netherlands: ‘Recent developments very worrying’
8:51 AM
The New Arab Staff

Dutch Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot has shared his reaction on the ongoing Israel-Iran developments that the Netherlands is "closely monitoring the situation in Iran".

“The recent developments in the Middle East are deeply worrying. It is of paramount importance that further escalation is prevented,” Bruins Slot wrote on X.

Italy urges 'de-escalation' as G7 to discuss reported strike
8:50 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani called Friday for an "absolute de-escalation" following reports that Israel carried out a strike on Iran, saying G7 counterparts would discuss it at talks in Capri.

"We invite everyone to be cautious to avoid an escalation," he told RAI news from the Italian island, where Rome is hosting a meeting between foreign ministers of the Group of Seven nations.

The G7, which includes the UK, US, France, Germany, Japan and Canada, wants an "absolute de-escalation" in the Middle East, he said.

France calls for de-escalation after alleged Israeli attacks
8:31 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

France is calling for de-escalation in the Middle-East crisis, Deputy French Foreign Minister Jean-Noel Barrot said on Friday, responding to reports that Israel launched an air attack on Iranian soil earlier that day.

"All I can say is that France's position is to call on all actors for de-escalation and restraint," Barrot told Sud Radio

Oman condemns 'Israeli attack' on Iran: foreign ministry
8:29 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Oman, which has long mediated between Tehran and the West, condemned an "Israeli attack" on Iran on Friday after Iranian media reported explosions heard near the city of Isfahan.

Oman "condemns the Israeli attack this morning on Isfahan... it also condemns and denounces Israel's repeated military attacks in the region", said a foreign ministry statement released on X, formerly Twitter.

S&P cut its Israel debt rating to A+ on geopolitical risks
8:07 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The S&P global rating agency downgraded its rating on Israel's long-term debt amid regional tensions, it said in a statement issued late Thursday, just before reports of an Israeli revenge attack on arch-foe Iran.

The agency cut its rating from AA- to A+, and said the outlook was negative.

"The recent increase in confrontation with Iran heightens already elevated geopolitical risks for Israel," S&P said in its statement.

The rating downgrade may add pressure on Israel's bonds and the shekel, which has fallen this year against the dollar.