TEHRAN: Demonstrators wave Iranian and Palestinian flags as they gather in front of the British Embassy on April 14, 2024, after Iran launched a drone and missile attack on the Zionist entity. - AFP
TEHRAN: Demonstrators wave Iranian and Palestinian flags as they gather in front of the British Embassy on April 14, 2024, after Iran launched a drone and missile attack on the Zionist entity. - AFP


Kuwait deeply concerned, urges restraint • Cabinet braces for all eventualities

JERUSALEM/KUWAIT: World leaders urged restraint on Sunday after the Zionist entity came under an unprecedented attack from Iranian drones and missiles that sparked fears of a broader conflict. Iran’s overnight barrage from late Saturday was its first-ever direct assault on Zionist territory and came in retaliation for a deadly strike on Tehran’s consulate in the Syrian capital.

Kuwait’s foreign affairs ministry expressed on Sunday its deep concern over military escalation in the region, and the mounting detrimental ramifications on both regional and international stability and security. In a statement, Kuwait called for practicing self-restraint to avoid risks of such escalation and its ramifications.

It underlined the importance of UN Security Council adhering to its responsibilities of safeguarding international peace and security and avoiding wars by guaranteeing commitment by the international community. The ministry stressed the necessity of addressing the root cause of tensions and adopting diplomacy in conflict settlement to ensure regional stability.

The Kuwaiti Cabinet had convened an extraordinary meeting at Messila Palace on Saturday evening under the chairmanship of HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Dr Mohammad Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah. The Cabinet affirmed keenness on responding to all regional incidents and conditions in a way that protects the security and stability of Kuwait amid accelerating developments in the region.

The meeting heard presentations by several ministers on the precautionary measures made by their respective ministries and competent state agencies to address any eventuality, particularly in the security domain, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Sharida Al-Maousherji following the meeting. The Cabinet reaffirmed its commitment to protecting the security and stability of the country and ensuring the basic services and needs of citizens and expatriates.

It remained unclear how the Zionist entity would respond to this major escalation in the long-running covert war between the regional foes which has been further inflamed by the Gaza war raging since Oct 7. The Zionist entity’s top ally the United States cautioned against an escalation after the attack that was largely foiled, with the Zionist army saying 99 percent of the launches had been intercepted.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday: “We don’t want to see this escalate. We’re not looking for a wider war with Iran.” However, Zionist Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that “the campaign is not over yet — we must remain alert”. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned the Zionist entity against a “reckless” retaliation, saying it would face “a decisive and much stronger response”.

Iran said its drone and missile attack came in response to the April 1 air strike on Tehran’s consulate building in Damascus, an attack widely blamed on the Zionist entity. Syria said Sunday Iran had exercised its “right to self-defense”. Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Tehran had notified neighboring states ahead of Saturday’s attack, stressing its aim was “to punish the (Zionist) regime”.

US President Joe Biden reaffirmed Washington’s “ironclad” support for the Zionist entity, while appearing to guide its staunch ally away from a military response. Other world leaders also urged restraint, ahead of a United Nations Security Council emergency meeting requested by the Zionist entity. G7 nations were also holding a video conference to discuss the attack.

Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles towards the Zionist entity late Saturday, injuring 12 people, the Zionist’s military said. One of those wounded was a seven-year-old girl near the southern town of Arad who was in intensive care. Most of the drones and missiles were intercepted before reaching the Zionist entity, the army said, with help from the United States, Jordan, Britain and other allies.

The attack came as fighting between the Zionist entity and Hamas raged in Gaza, and the latest attempt to reach a ceasefire in the war appeared to falter. News outlet Axios said Biden told Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Washington would oppose a Zionist counterattack and that he should “take the win”.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called for “calm heads to prevail”, adding that UK warplanes had also shot down Iranian attack drones. NATO said it was “vital that the conflict in the Middle East does not spiral out of control”. And Pope Francis called for “an end to any action which could fuel a spiral of violence”.

Turkey’s foreign minister called on Iran to avoid a “new escalation”, a diplomatic source said, and France urged its citizens in Iran to leave “temporarily”. President Abdel Latif Rashid of Iraq, Iran’s neighbor, called for a “reduction of tensions” and warned against the “spread of conflict”. Indonesia, the Muslim world’s most populous country, said it was “deeply concerned” and urged “all parties to exercise restraint”.

Zionist military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said that 99 percent of the launches were intercepted, declaring that “the Iranian attack was foiled”. While 170 drones and 30 cruise missiles were shot down before reaching the Zionist entity, a few of the 110 ballistic missiles did get through, the Zionist army said. Iran’s proxies and allies also carried out coordinated attacks on Zionist positions.

AFP correspondents heard blasts in the skies above Jerusalem early Sunday, and overnight people sought cover. On Sunday morning, people began returning tentatively to the streets. “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 Jerusalem resident Ayala Salant.

The Iranian army declared that its attack was “completed successfully”, and that it was in “self-defence” after the Damascus strike which killed seven of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards including two generals. Iran’s “Operation Honest Promise... achieved all its objectives”, armed forces chief of staff Mohammad Bagheri said.

Bagheri said the attack targeted an intelligence center and the air base from which Tehran says the Zionist F-35 jets took off to strike the Damascus consulate. “Both these centers were significantly destroyed,” he said, although the Zionist entity said there was only minor damage. Analyst Nick Heras of the New Lines Institute for Strategy and Policy told AFP Saturday’s attack was “all about satisfying the honor of Iran”. “This recent escalation in the Middle East is about the treacherous state of US and Iran relations, in which (the Zionist entity) is just one arena of conflict,” he said.

Hundreds of Iranians in Tehran’s Palestine Square waved Iranian and Palestinian flags in support of Iran’s military action. The Zionist entity, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon all said they had reopened their airspace after suspending air traffic during the attack. Jordan said it intercepted “flying objects” in its airspace during the attack.

Iran’s allies in the region joined the attack, with Yemen’s Tehran-backed Houthi rebels also launching drones at the Zionist entity, security agency Ambrey said. Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement said it had fired rockets at Zionist positions in the annexed Golan Heights around the same time, and another barrage hours later. A Zionist strike destroyed a building used by Hezbollah in east Lebanon on Sunday, Zionist and Lebanese sources said.

Iran’s mission to the United Nations warned Washington to keep out of its conflict with the Zionist entity. It added on X that “the matter can be deemed concluded”. “However, should the (Zionist) regime make another mistake, Iran’s response will be considerably more severe.” – Agencies

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