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Netanyahu ignoring phone calls of world leaders except Biden as Israeli military chief vows to take revenge

While Israeli leaders have hinted at retaliation, the government is under heavy international pressure not to further escalate the conflict — especially after the Iranian strike caused such little damage.

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Jerusalem Updated on: April 16, 2024 12:37 IST
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Image Source : AP Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu

Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been facing immense pressure from world leaders to restrain any aggression against Iran, has been ignoring calls from Western leaders. According to a local media report, Netanyahu got hundreds of calls from the world leaders following Iran's weekend attack on Jerusalem. However, Israeli public broadcaster KAN reported that the Israeli PM has widely ignored the calls from leaders as he knew that they would pressurise him to refrain from attacking Tehran.

Netanyahu only had telephonic conversations with US President Joe Biden on Saturday. 

Israel’s military chief vows to respond 

Israel’s military chief said Monday that his country will respond to Iran's weekend attack, but he did not elaborate on when and how as world leaders urged against retaliation, trying to avoid a spiral of violence in the Middle East. Israeli military chief Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi said Monday that Israel is considering its next steps but that the Iranian strike “will be met with a response.”

Halevi gave no details. The army’s spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said Israel will respond “at the time that we choose.”

Netanyahu summoned his war cabinet 

Netanyahu on Monday summoned his war cabinet for the second time in less than 24 hours to weigh a response to Iran's weekend missile and drone attack, a government source told Reuters.
Military Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said Israel would respond. He provided no details.

"This launch of so many missiles, cruise missiles, and drones into Israeli territory will be met with a response," he said at the Nevatim Airbase in southern Israel, which sustained some damage in Saturday night's attack. The prospect of Israeli retaliation has alarmed many Iranians already enduring economic pain and tighter social and political controls since protests in 2022-23.

Iran will respond to any action against its interests, President Ebrahim Raisi told Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Tuesday, according to the Iranian Student News Agency.

Iran launched the attack in retaliation for what it says was an April 1 Israeli airstrike on its embassy compound in Damascus and signalled that it does not seek further escalation. While the attack caused no deaths and limited damage, it has increased fears of open warfare between the long-time foes and fuelled concerns that violence rooted in the Gaza war is spreading.

Biden tells Netanyahu that US forces will not participate 

Biden told Netanyahu at the weekend that the United States, which helped Israel blunt the Iranian attack, will not participate in an Israeli counter-strike. Since the war in Gaza began in October, clashes have erupted between Israel and Iran-aligned groups in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq. Israel said four of its soldiers were wounded hundreds of meters inside Lebanese territory overnight.

It appeared to be the first such known incident since the Gaza war erupted, although there have been several exchanges of fire between Israel and Lebanon's armed group Hezbollah.
"We're on the edge of the cliff and we have to move away from it," Josep Borrell, the European Union's foreign affairs chief, told Spanish radio station Onda Cero. "We have to step on the brakes and reverse gear."

Macron and Scholz also appealed Israeli PM to not attack Iran

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron made similar appeals. Washington and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also have called for restraint. White House national security spokesman John Kirby declined on Monday to say if Biden urged Netanyahu in talks on Saturday night to exercise restraint in responding to Iran. "We don't want to see a war with Iran. We don't want to see a regional conflict," Kirby told a briefing, adding that it was for Israel to decide "whether and how they'll respond."

(With inputs from agencies)

Also Read: Iran warns of using 'weapons never deployed before' as Israeli PM weigh response to weekend attack

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