We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Israeli soldiers move on the top of a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, as seen from southern Israel. Leo Correa/AP
Middle East

Israel pounds Gaza while US says it will send reinforcements to deter any attack by Iran

US President Joe Biden said he expected Iran to attempt to strike Israel soon but warned against any retaliation for the 1 April strike on its Damascus consulate.

RESIDENTS REPORTED HEAVY Israeli fire in central Gaza yesterday, with regional tensions soaring after Iran threatened reprisals over a strike in Syria this month that killed two Iranian generals.

As talks for a truce and hostage release dragged on, fears that Iran could soon launch an attack on Israel prompted the United States to announce it was sending reinforcements to the Middle East as a deterrent.

US President Joe Biden said he expected Iran to attempt to strike Israel soon but warned it against attacking the US ally in retaliation for the April 1 strike on its Damascus consulate.

Authorities in Hamas-ruled Gaza reported dozens of new air strikes in the central region where most Israeli troops have regrouped in recent days.

embedded789bb86abe9f4433bf016b4160b58b12 Palestinians visit the graves of their relatives who were killed in the war between Israel and the Hamas militant group during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, in Deir al-Balah, Gaza. Abdel Kareem Hana / AP) Abdel Kareem Hana / AP) / AP)

Israel’s military said its aircraft had struck more than 60 militant targets in Gaza over the previous day.

The Hamas media office said 25 people were taken to hospital in Deir al-Balah “as a result of an air strike on a house”.

Biden’s message: ‘Don’t’

The White House said yesterday that the threat from Iran remained “real”.

Asked what his message was to Iran on striking Israel, Biden said: “Don’t”.

“We are devoted to the defence of Israel, we will support Israel, we will help defend Israel and Iran will not succeed,” he said.

A defence official said the Pentagon was “moving additional assets to the region to bolster regional deterrence efforts and increase force protection for US forces.”

Biden sent the head of US Central Command, General Michael Kurilla, to Israel for urgent talks on the threat from Iran.

After meeting Kurilla yesterday, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel and the United States stood “shoulder to shoulder”, despite recent differences over the conduct of the war in Gaza.

“Our enemies think that they can pull apart Israel and the United States, but the opposite is true – they are bringing us together and strengthening our ties,” Gallant said.

Washington, which has had no diplomatic relations with Tehran since the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution, also asked its allies to use their influence with Iran to urge restraint, the State Department said.

After calls with his Australian, British and German counterparts on Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said: “Iran does not seek to expand the scope of the war.”

But he added that it felt it had no choice but to respond to the deadly attack on its diplomatic mission after the UN Security Council failed to take action.

Lebanon’s Iran-backed militant group Hezbollah said it fired “dozens of Katyusha rockets” at Israeli artillery positions Friday, a bombardment it said was in response to Israeli strikes in the south.

The Israeli army said approximately 40 launches were identified, some of which were intercepted. “No injuries were reported,” it added.

French travel warning

France warned its nationals against travelling to Iran, Israel, Lebanon or the Palestinian territories, after the US embassy in Israel announced it was restricting the movements of its diplomats over security fears.

German airline Lufthansa said its planes would no longer use Iranian airspace as it extended a suspension of flights to and from Tehran.

The war began with Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack against Israel which resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli figures.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 33,634 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the territory’s health ministry.

The latest bombardments in Gaza came after Israel said it had strengthened air defences and paused leave for combat units, following a deadly April 1 air strike that destroyed Iran’s consulate building in Damascus.

Iran blamed its arch foe Israel, which has stepped up strikes against Iran-linked targets in Syria since the Gaza war began.

© AFP 2024