TEHRAN: Demonstrators wave Iran's flag and Palestinian flags as they gather at Palestine Square in Tehran after Iran launched a drone and missile attack on the Zionist entity.  — AFP photos
TEHRAN: Demonstrators wave Iran's flag and Palestinian flags as they gather at Palestine Square in Tehran after Iran launched a drone and missile attack on the Zionist entity. — AFP photos

Iranian retaliation stirs anxiety

Zionists, Iranians torn between pride, worry after overnight missile attack

TEHRAN/JERUSALEM: Zionists in Jerusalem said Iran’s overnight missile and drone attack was “frightening”, but they were confident in their country’s defenses. Some called for retaliation as Iranians were torn between a fear of war and pride at their country’s military capabilities.

On Sunday, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) announced it had launched hundreds of drones as well as missiles towards military sites in the Zionist entity. Among the main targets were an intelligence center and an air base in the Negev desert, which Tehran says was used by the Zionist entity to strike Iran’s consulate in Damascus on April 1. Iran had vowed to avenge the strike on its diplomatic mission, which killed seven Guards including two generals from the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of the Guards.

Jerusalem awoke to no noticeable difference in the main market or at its main train and bus stations. The Zionist army said it had shot down 99 percent of the drones and missiles with the help of the United States and other allies, with the attack resulting in only minor damage. “The situation is really frightening because we are afraid of what happens and all of the bombing and aircraft that are coming,” said 48-year-old Ayala Salant, a resident of Jerusalem. “However, we are very, very happy with the alliance that helped us because most of the aircraft and missiles have not arrived to (the Zionist entity). We hope that there will be a stop to this ongoing escalation soon.”

Yishai Levi, 67, said that the Zionist entity “once again proved technological ... superiority, and handled it in an impressive manner”. Tehran, however, said it had “significantly destroyed” its targets. “We were extremely happy with this action of the IRGC and in fact, we felt better after a long time,” said 65-year-old retiree Ali Erfanian. “This was a help and solidarity with the oppressed people of Gaza and the West Bank.”

The attack which began late Saturday marks a major escalation in the long-running covert war between the regional foes and comes against the backdrop of the ongoing Zionist war on Gaza.

“Iran’s attack should not go quietly,” said Sharin Avraham, 31. “We have to respond because Iran is a country. (The Zionist entity) needs to show it that we are strong and this is not something that can simply pass. We are not the world’s punching bag,”

JERUSALEM: People cross a street in Jerusalem on April 14, 2024.
JERUSALEM: People cross a street in Jerusalem on April 14, 2024.

‘A war is no joke’

Several Iranian military figures have been killed in Syria since the Zionist war on Gaza began in strikes Iran has blamed on the Zionist entity. State television aired footage of Guards chief Hossein Salami ordering the start of the operation late on Saturday.

In the video, Salami said the operation was to “honor the memory” of Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force who was killed in a 2020 US strike in Baghdad, and Mohammad Reza Zahedi, one of the generals killed in the Damascus strike.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had warned in the aftermath of the April Damascus strike that the Zionist entity would “be slapped” in response. Goldar, a judge in his late 50s who did not give his full name, said “we feel proud and honored that a tough ... response was handed to the Zionist regime”.

For Mahdi, a 35-year-old beekeeper, Iran’s response was long overdue. “There has been sadness and anger in our hearts and we were always waiting for this revenge to be carried out and for the (Zionists) to be punished for their brutality,” he said. “We couldn’t believe it when the news came last night.”

Others, like Milad, a private school teacher who also did not give her full name, hoped the “conflict will not continue” because it might lead to a “destructive war” for both the Zionist entity and Iran. “We have not yet completely rebuilt the ruins of the Iran-Iraq war in the country’s southwest,” said the 46-year-old. “A war is no joke.”

Some in the north of the Zionist entity, near the restive border with Lebanon, told AFP they were afraid. “We are not on an island. There are people around us that we fear for,” said Waheb Khalayla, 68, from the Galilee town of Majd al-Krum. “We are afraid of a war breaking out, it will affect daily life and economic livelihood,” the retired nurse said. — AFP

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