TEHRAN: Iranian soldiers march past President Ebrahim Raisi during a military parade as part of a ceremony marking the country's annual army day on April 17, 2024. - AFP
TEHRAN: Iranian soldiers march past President Ebrahim Raisi during a military parade as part of a ceremony marking the country's annual army day on April 17, 2024. - AFP
Iran shows military might as tensions with Zionists soar
Hezbollah targets Zionist army base, wounding 14 soldiers

TEHRAN: As regional tensions run high, Iran paraded drones, missiles and soldiers on Wednesday to show it is ready for any response from the Zionist entity after launching an unprecedented attack on its bitter enemy. The Islamic republic carried out its first-ever direct attack on the Zionist entity at the weekend in response to an April 1 air strike on its consulate in Damascus which has been widely blamed on the Zionist entity.

The operation dubbed Honest Promise “brought down the glory of the Zionist regime”, President Ebrahim Raisi said at a military base on the outskirts of Tehran. “This operation showed that our armed forces are ready,” he said in a speech addressed to the regular army and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Wednesday’s parade saw the Iranian armed forces showcase a range of military equipment including drones and long-range ballistic missiles. Among them were multiple versions of the Ababil, Arash and Mohajer drones as well as the Dezful medium-range ballistic missile and S-300 air defence missile system.

Raisi on Wednesday reiterated warnings against “the slightest act of aggression” by the Zionist entity, saying it would lead to “a fierce and severe response”. The Zionist entity has vowed to respond to the weekend attack, with military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari saying Iran would not get off “scot-free”.

The Zionist army said most of the projectiles fired by Iran were shot down — with the help of the United States and other allies — and that the attack caused only minimal damage. Iran hailed the attack as “successful” and said it “achieved all its objectives” including inflicting damages to the air base and intelligence centre which it says was used by the Zionist entity to strike the Damascus consulate.

On Wednesday, Iran’s air force commander Hamid Vahedi warned Iran’s enemies against making a “strategic error”. “We are 100 percent ready in all aerial fronts,” he was quoted as saying by ISNA news agency. In his speech, Raisi also hit out at countries that had “sought to normalise relations” with the Zionist entity. “These countries are now humiliated in front of their own people which constitutes a strategic failure for the regime” of the Zionist entity, he said.

In 2020, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco normalised relations with the Zionist entity as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords, vehemently criticised by the Palestinians. Egypt and Jordan signed peace accords with the Zionist entity in 1979 and 1994, respectively.

Iran insists its attack on the Zionist entity was limited and carried out in “self-defence” following the strike on its consulate in the Syrian capital. It said it had informed the United States and given a 72-hour warning to neighbouring countries ahead of the attack.

Late Tuesday, the United States said it would soon impose fresh sanctions on Iran’s missile and drone programme and that it expected its allies and partners to follow with parallel measures. British Foreign Secretary David Cameron has urged the G7 Wednesday to adopt new “coordinated sanctions” against Iran. Asked about fears of a wider regional conflict, Cameron called the situation “very concerning”.

In Tehran, where daily activity proceeded as normal in the bustling city centre, some showed support for Iran in case of a possible Zionist response. “When it comes to defending our homeland, we are willing to go through anything,” said 50-year-old lawyer Hossein. “Our country is currently facing economic sanctions and many people are struggling, but defending our country is stronger than any obstacle.” Fershteh, a teacher, was also defiant. “We are not worried about war because we believe that if God wills it to be a war, I will survive.”

Meanwhile, Lebanon’s Hezbollah group said it attacked a Zionist army base near the border on Wednesday, with the latest in a series of tit-for-tat strikes wounding 14 soldiers, according to the Zionist military. The Zionist entity and Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Hamas ally, have been exchanging near-daily cross-border fire since Oct 7.

But Wednesday’s incident marked the third day in a row that Hezbollah strikes wounded people in the Zionist entity. Hours after the strike on Arab al-Aramshe, an Arab-majority village in the Zionist entity near the border, Zionist forces hit targets in eastern Lebanon, a Hezbollah source told AFP.

According to the source, the strike targeted a warehouse in Iaat, a residential area near Baalbek, and “lightly” wounded one man. The official National News Agency reported three drone strikes in the area, a Hezbollah stronghold far from the border with the Zionist entity. An AFP photographer said the warehouse that was hit stored vegetables and agricultural produce.

There was no immediate comment from the Zionist military, which earlier said 14 soldiers were wounded in the strike on the Zionist entity, including six seriously. Hezbollah said it launched “a combined attack with guided missiles and explosive drones on a new military reconnaissance command center in Arab al-Aramshe”.

According to the Zionist army, “a number of launches from Lebanon were identified crossing into the area of Arab al-Aramshe,” and Zionist forces struck the sources of the fire. Hezbollah said the attack came “in response to the enemy assassinating a number of resistance fighters in Ain Baal and Shehabiya” on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, the Zionist entity said its strikes in south Lebanon killed two local Hezbollah commanders and another operative, with the Iran-backed group saying three of its members were killed as it launched rockets in retaliation. Local Zionist authorities said three people were wounded in a strike from Lebanon earlier that day. On Monday, Hezbollah targeted Zionist troops with explosive devices, wounding four soldiers who crossed into Lebanese territory, the first such attack in six months of clashes. - AFP

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