Israeli defense minister: Iran’s threats will not deter response to Iranian aerial assault | VOA

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Israeli defense minister: Iran’s threats will not deter response to Iranian aerial assault | An article and Podcast by Michael Lipin for VOA | Voice of America – April 16, 2024.


Israel’s defense minister said Tuesday Iran’s threats will not deter his nation from responding to Sunday’s unprecedented aerial attack on the Jewish state.

Referring to comments made by Yoav Gallant on a visit to northern Israel, the Defense Ministry quoted him as saying, “The Iranians failed in their attack and will fail to deter Israel.”

Senior U.S. officials have said the Iranian attack on Israel, the first ever launched from Iranian soil, involved more than 110 ballistic missiles, 30 cruise missiles and more than 150 one-way, explosive aerial drones. They said Iranian proxy forces in Iraq, Syria and Yemen also took part in the attack.

Iranian officials have issued a series of verbal warnings to Israel as it considers its response, vowing that Tehran will respond quickly and harshly to Israeli action that harms the Islamic republic’s interests.

Iran has called Sunday’s aerial assault a one-off event carried out in retaliation for what Tehran said was an Israeli airstrike that killed senior Iranian commanders in Damascus on April 1. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility.

“The Iranians will not be able to establish a new status of deterrence against Israel,” Gallant said, according to the Defense Ministry. “[Israeli] aircraft operate everywhere — the skies of the Middle East are ‘open,’ and any enemy that fights us will be hit, no matter where they may be.”

The Israeli war Cabinet, which includes Gallant, has met repeatedly in recent days to debate Israel’s response options.

Speaking to VOA’s “Flashpoint Global Crises” program in a Tuesday phone interview from northern Israel, former Israeli intelligence official Avi Melamed said Israel could retaliate against Iran with a direct military strike on Iranian territory, a cyberattack or some other kind of covert kinetic action.

https://www.voanews.com/a/israeli-defense-minister-iran-s-threats-will-not-deter-response-to-iranian-aerial-assault-/7572312.html

Any Israeli retaliation likely would have to be coordinated with the United States, said Melamed, who runs the U.S. nonprofit research group Inside the Middle East. He said an Israeli response also would need to make Iran pay a significant price that sends a strong message to the region while not being so painful that it triggers further Iranian escalation.

“When I look at all those components, I think it is very likely that there will be a series of covert, significant Israeli actions against Iranian assets,” Melamed said.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a Tuesday briefing that Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in consultations with his regional counterparts, has let it be known that the U.S. does not want to see further escalation of the Iran-Israel conflict.

British media said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delivered a similar message to his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in a Tuesday phone call. They cited a Downing Street readout of the call, in which Sunak is quoted as saying “significant escalation was in no one’s interest and would only deepen insecurity in the Middle East.”

Earlier Tuesday, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in a post on the X platform that he has reached out to 32 nations to push for sanctions against Iran’s missile program and to declare Iran’s top military force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a terrorist organization.

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The United States is one of several countries that already designate the IRGC as a terror group. Since October, the U.S. has imposed several rounds of sanctions targeting the Iranian ballistic missile program as U.N. sanctions on that program expired.

In a Tuesday briefing, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said some member states proposed expanding “restrictive measures” against Iran.

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He said he agreed to ask the External Action Service that carries out the European bloc’s foreign and security policy to start work on new sanctions that could penalize Iran’s weapons deliveries to its proxy forces and any Iranian supplies of missiles to Russia.

VOA’s State Department bureau chief Nike Ching contributed to this report.


Israeli defense minister: Iran’s threats will not deter response to Iranian aerial assault | An article and Podcast by Michael Lipin for VOA | Voice of America – April 16, 2024.

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Avi Melamed
Avi Melamedhttps://insidethemiddle-east.com
Avi Melamed is an expert on current affairs in the Arab & Muslim World and their impact on Israel & the Middle East. A former Israeli Intelligence Official & Senior Official on Arab Affairs, Fluent in Arabic, English, and Hebrew, he has held high-risk Government, Senior Advisory, Intelligence & Counter-Terrorist intelligence positions in Arab cities & communities - often in very sensitive times - on behalf of Israeli Government agencies. He is the Founder & CEO of Inside the Middle East | Intelligence Perspectives - an apolitical non-partisan curriculum using intelligence methodology to examine the Middle East. As an Author, Educator, Expert, and Strategic Intelligence Analyst, Avi provides Intelligence Analysis, Briefings, and Geopolitical Tours to diplomats, Israeli and foreign policymakers, global media outlets, and a wide variety of international businesses, organizations, and private clients on a range of Israel and Middle East Affairs.

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