Iran downplays response attributed to Israel

The escalation seems to be fading away. On Saturday April 20, Tehran downplayed the attack the day before attributed to Israel in central Iran, affirming that there would be no reprisals. In an interview given to the American channel NBCIranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian put the attack which took place at dawn on Friday into perspective.

“What happened last night was not an attack. These were two or three quadcopter drones, like the ones children play with in Iran”he quipped, adding that “as long as there is no new adventure [offensive militaire] in the name of the Israeli regime against the interests of Iran, we will not respond”.

On Friday, Iranian state media reported that detonations were heard at dawn near a military base in the Isfahan region, after ” several “ small drones have been “successfully killed” speak “air defense system” from the country.

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Media in the United States, citing American officials, claimed that it was an Israeli operation carried out in response to an unprecedented Iranian drone and missile attack against Israel on April 13.

According to THE Washington Post, citing an Israeli official who requested anonymity, the attack was intended to show Iran that Israel had the capacity to strike inside its territory. A senior official in the US Congress, who did not wish to be named, confirmed to Agence France-Presse (AFP) an Israeli attack in Iran. Questioned by AFP, the Israeli army did not comment on these events in Iran.

Calls for calm

This latest bout of fever comes as the war between Israel and Hamas, triggered by an unprecedented attack by the Palestinian Islamist movement on October 7, has not let up and has left 34,049 dead in Gaza, mainly civilians, according to the Hamas’ latest assessment, which could not be independently verified.

A sign of the explosive nature of the situation, the international community rushed, in the wake of Friday’s attack, to launch appeals for calm. The head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, stressed that “the objective” of his country and the other members of the G7, gathered in Capri, Italy, was “de-escalation”. The head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov, reported contacts with Iran and Israel. “We told the Israelis that Iran does not want escalation”he clarified.

During the first direct attack ever carried out by Iran against Israeli territory on April 13, Israel claimed to have intercepted with its allies, mainly the United States, almost all of the approximately 350 Iranian drones and missiles. Iran said it acted in ” self-defense “ after the attack which destroyed its consulate in Damascus on 1er April and cost the lives of seven of its soldiers, including two senior officers. Tehran accused Israel, which neither confirmed nor denied.

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“Dozens” of Israeli strikes on Saturday in Gaza

Tensions between Israel and Iran come after six months of war in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel in particular, took power in 2007. Israel launched a vast offensive after an attack on its territory on October 7 by Hamas commandos, supported by Iran, which led to the death of 1,170 people, mainly civilians, according to an AFP report established from official data.

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More than 250 people were kidnapped during the attack and 129 are being held in Gaza, 34 of whom died according to Israeli officials. In addition to the heavy human toll and destruction, the approximately 2.4 million inhabitants are threatened with famine according to the UN, which is urging the entry of more humanitarian aid into this small territory.

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The Israeli army announced on Saturday that it had struck “dozens of terrorist targets”, one “launch base at Beit Hanoun”in the north of Gaza, “shortly after a missile was intercepted, in the area near the city [israélienne] of Sderot ». According to civil defense in Gaza, an Israeli strike killed nine members of the same family in Rafah, in the south of the territory, where more than a million and a half displaced Palestinians are massed according to the UN.

In this context, the leader of Hamas, Ismaïl Haniyeh, arrived in Turkey on Friday evening and is to be received by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a time when Qatar says it wants “reevaluate” his role as mediator in the conflict in Gaza. Qatar, which is stalling in negotiating a truce between Hamas and Israel, is threatening to withdraw in the face of Israeli criticism and from certain American Democrats. However, Turkey, which has relations with Israel and Hamas, could take advantage of this to try to resume mediation.

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The World with AFP

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