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NUSEIRAT: A cloud of smoke erupts down the road from an explosion as a man drives an animal-drawn cart loaded with jerrycans in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip.
NUSEIRAT: A cloud of smoke erupts down the road from an explosion as a man drives an animal-drawn cart loaded with jerrycans in Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu challenges allies’ advice
Zionist entity to ‘make its own decisions’ on Iran’s response as it continues to pound Gaza

JERUSALEM: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday the Zionist entity will decide how to respond to Iran’s unprecedented attack as world leaders called for restraint to avoid escalation.

The Zionist military has vowed to respond to Iran’s missile and drone weekend attack, prompting a diplomatic flurry aiming to calm a region already on the edge due to the Zionist war in Gaza.

Washington and Brussels have pledged to ramp up sanctions against Iran, while British Foreign Secretary David Cameron and his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock became the first Western envoys to visit the Zionist entity after the attack.

Netanyahu told the visiting ministers that the entity “will reserve the right to protect itself,” his office said. The pair offered “all kinds of suggestions and advice” during a meeting, Netanyahu said. “However, I would also like to clarify: we will make our decisions ourselves.”

For his part, Cameron said that “we’re very anxious to avoid escalation and to say to our friends in (the Zionist entity): It’s a time to think with head as well as heart.” Baerbock emphasized that “the region must not slide into a situation whose outcome is completely unpredictable.” Tehran has vowed to hit back if the entity responds to the Saturday attack, which itself was launched in retaliation to a deadly strike on Iran’s Damascus consulate building earlier this month.

RAFAH: A Palestinian child checks a building destroyed by Zionist bombardment the previous night in Rafah the southern Gaza Strip on April 17, 2024. — AFP photos
RAFAH: A Palestinian child checks a building destroyed by Zionist bombardment the previous night in Rafah the southern Gaza Strip on April 17, 2024. — AFP photos

US, EU to toughen sanctions

The Zionist entity’s top ally the United States has made clear it won’t join any attack on Iran, vowing instead to level more sanctions targeting Iran’s missile and drone program, its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Iranian defense ministry.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Brussels was also working to expand sanctions against Iran, including its supply of drones and other weapons to Russia and to proxy groups around the Middle East. Germany’s Baerbock said that Berlin and Paris were in favor of a European sanctions regime against Iranian drones to be extended to include “missile technologies in Iran’s arsenal”. Cameron also urged the G7 to adopt new “coordinated sanctions against Iran,” ahead of a meeting with counterparts from the Western-led grouping in Italy.

Deadly strikes in Gaza

The sharply heightened Zionist-Irani tensions have threatened to overshadow the Gaza war, even as deadly bombardment and combat raged on unabated in the besieged territory. Talks toward a truce and hostage release deal have stalled for now, said Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, a key mediator, despite months of effort also involving US and Egyptian officials.

The Zionist military said Wednesday its aircraft had “struck over 40 terror targets throughout the Gaza Strip” over the past day. When one strike hit the southernmost city of Rafah, where 1.5 million Palestinians are sheltering, Jamalat Ramidan said she “woke up to the sounds of girls shouting ‘mama, mama, mama’.” As she fled the carnage alongside children, they stumbled over “body parts and corpses scattered all over the place,” Ramidan told AFP. Vast areas of Gaza have been devastated by more than six months of war, while its 2.4 million people have suffered under a Zionist siege that has blocked most water, food, medicines and other vital supplies. The Zionist entity’s devastating offensive, which it claims is aimed at destroying Hamas, has killed at least 33,899 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

‘Above and beyond’

The Zionist entity has faced growing global opposition to the relentless fighting in Gaza, which the United Nations and aid agencies have warned has pushed the north of the territory to the brink of famine.

But Netanyahu rejected any claims about famine on Wednesday, saying the Zionist entity is doing “above and beyond” what is needed “on the humanitarian issue,” his office said. The UN said it would launch an appeal on Wednesday for $2.8 billion to help Palestinians in Gaza and in the occupied West Bank.

The bloodiest ever Gaza war has also revived the push for Palestinian statehood as part of a two-state solution to the decades-long conflict. The UN Security Council was preparing to vote Thursday on an Algeria-drafted resolution for full United Nations membership for a Palestinian state, diplomatic sources said. However, the veto-wielding United States has repeatedly expressed opposition to the move. — AFP

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