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Israel weighs response to Iranian attack

Israel’s three-man war cabinet is weighing the country’s response to an unprecedented overnight barrage of drone and missile strikes from Iran, which threatens to tip the crisis in the Middle East into an untempered regional war.

The war cabinet has been authorized to decide how to respond to the attack, with one of its members – Defense Minister Yoav Gallant – warning that the event is “not over yet.”

Gallant said Israel had “thwarted this attack in a way that is unparalleled” but added “we must be prepared for every scenario.” In his first comments, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “we have intercepted, we have contained. Together we shall win.”

Israel will respond to Iran’s attack, but the scope of that attack has yet to be decided, an Israeli official told CNN on Sunday. The official said Israel is yet to determine whether to try and “break all the dishes” or do something more measured.

But Israel is being urged by Western allies to de-escalate an intensely fraught situation on Sunday and close, at least for now, a weeks-long chapter of uncertainty and confrontation that had spiraled out of Israel’s war with Hamas that has killed more than 33,000 Palestinians in Gaza and caused a humanitarian disaster in the enclave.

Iran’s retaliatory attack had been anticipated since a suspected Israeli strike on an Iranian diplomatic complex in Syria earlier this month, and finally came late on Saturday when over 300 projectiles – including around 170 drones and over 120 ballistic missiles – were fired toward Israeli soil. Israeli authorities said “99%” were intercepted with help from allies including the US, the UK and France. The only injury reported was a 10-year-old girl who was seriously wounded by shrapnel from an Israeli interceptor.

The reprisals brought years of clandestine conflict between the countries into the open, and marked the first time the Islamic Republic had launched a direct assault on Israel from its soil.

Israel and Iran have long been rivals, but tensions escalated in the wake of Hamas’ attacks on Israel, which left about 1,200 people dead. Iran backs a web of proxies across the Middle East that have frequently clashed with Israel since the attacks.

Iran says next attack could be ‘much bigger’

On Sunday, Iran said a “new equation” in its adversarial relationship with Israel had been opened, and warned of a “much bigger” assault on the country should Netanyahu decide on a tit-for-tat attack.

“We have decided to create a new equation, which is that if from now on the Zionist regime attacks our interests, assets, personalities, and citizens, anywhere, and at any point we will retaliate against them,” the Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Hossein Salami told Iranian state TV. The “Zionist regime” is a term Iran uses to refer to Israel.

Earlier Sardar Bagheri, the Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, said: “If the Zionist regime responds, our next operation will be much bigger.”

Source: CNN

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