Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Iran launches ‘retaliatory’ attack on Israel for consulate bombing, says not seeking escalation

Iran has launched dozens of drones and missiles at Israel, the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) confirmed, after Israel said Tehran had begun attacks. These strikes were in retaliation for an Israeli attack on an Iranian consulate building in Damascus, which resulted in the deaths of at least 13 people, including two high-ranking members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

The IRGC said on Saturday that it had released the drones and missiles under the operation “True Promise”, adding that the move was part of the punishment for “Israeli crimes”.

“We launched an operation using drones and missiles in response to the Zionist entity’s crime of targeting the Iranian consulate in Syria,” the IRGC said in a statement. “The operation was carried out with dozens of missiles and drones to strike specific targets in the occupied territories.”

Israel said the drones would take several hours before reaching its airspace. The vast majority of the missiles launched from Iran were intercepted outside the borders of the State of Israel, a statement from the Israeli defence force’s spokesperson read.

“A short time ago, dozens of launches of surface-to-surface missiles were detected that made their way from Iran to the country’s territory. The air defense fighters successfully intercepted using the “Arrow” system and, together with the strategic partner countries, most of the launches before they crossed the territory of the country,” the statement read.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned Iran’s attack, saying he was “deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation.”

“I strongly condemn the serious escalation represented by the large-scale attack launched on Israel by the Islamic Republic of Iran this evening,” Guterres wrote in a statement Saturday night.

In a letter addressed to UN chief Antonio Guterres and Security Council President Vanessa Frazier, Tehran has emphasised that its attack on Israel is a legal and justified act of self-defence against Israeli “aggressions”.

The Iranian mission to the UN decried the Security Council’s failure to condemn the deadly Israeli air raid on the country’s consulate in Damascus on April 1.

“As a responsible member of the United Nations, Islamic Republic of Iran is committed to the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and international law and reiterates its consistent position that it does not seek escalation or conflict in the region,” the letter said.

The UN Security Council (UNSC) will hold an emergency meeting on Sunday, the council’s current president, Malta, has said. The meeting was scheduled shortly after a formal request from Israel’s UN envoy for an emergency meeting on Iran’s drone strikes against Israel.

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