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.

Iran's U.N. Ambassador, Amir Saeid Iravani, addresses the United Nations Security Council Alamy
taking sides

Israel military chief says it will 'respond' to missile strikes by Iran despite calls for de-escalation

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with his war cabinet tonight to discuss possible reactions, local media said.


THE HEAD OF Israel’s military has announced that Israel will respond to the missile strikes launched by Iran, acting against calls from around the world to de-escalate the situation.

Israel’s military chief Herzi Halevi said that Israel is still considering its steps but that the Iranian strike of missiles and attack drones “will be met with a response”.

In a separate statement, Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said “we will do whatever is necessary to protect the State of Israel, and we will do it at the opportunity and the time we will choose”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today that Iran threatens world peace and the international community must stand united to face the Islamic republic’s aggression.

“The international community must continue to stand united in resisting this Iranian aggression, which threatens world peace,” he said in a statement released by his office on X.

Netanyahu met with his war cabinet tonight to discuss possible reactions, local media said.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin said earlier that the situation in the Middle East must be de-escalated, accusing Iran of engaging in a “shadow war” through using terrorist groups as proxies.

On Saturday, Iran launched a direct attack on its arch foe Israel for the first time, firing more than 300 missiles and drones. Nearly all were intercepted by Israel and others, including the United States, Jordan and Britain.

Iran’s attack came in response to a deadly 1 April air strike on Tehran’s consulate building in Syria’s capital Damascus that was widely blamed on Israel.

That attack killed seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards, including two senior generals.

Israel’s army today said that those killed in the Damascus strike had engaged in “terrorism against Israel”.

‘Too much war in the world’

Speaking to reporters earlier today, the Tánaiste said that there is “too much war in the world” and “every effort has has to be made to de-escalate the situation in the Middle East, and particularly in respect of the hostilities between Iran and Israel”.

“We acknowledge, and there is no question but, that Iran has been a malign actor and there has been a shadow war of a form through the various proxies, be it Hamas, Hezbollah or the Houthis,” he said.

“This was the first full-on country attack on another country, albeit the nature of it is such that the defenses, were able to to deal with it and quite a number of countries came to the aid of Israel to defend against the missiles and against the drones.

“What is required now is a de-escalation of this particular aspect of it and we need an end to the war in Gaza.” 

In the UK, speaking to Times Radio, David Cameron said Israel should recognise that Iran’s response was a failure and that it should move on and re-focus on Hamas.

He called on Israel to be “smart” by not escalating tensions with Iran and confirmed that British RAF jets shot down “a small number” of drones fired by Iran in what was its first direct military assault on Israeli soil. 

Meanwhile, Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan told an emergency meeting of the Security Council convened after Tehran’s unprecedented attack that “the mask is off”.

“Iran, the number one global sponsor of terror, has exposed its true face as the destabilizer of the region and the world,” said Erdan.

“The mask comes off and the gloves must come on,” he said, imploring the body to “take action.”

Erdan asked the Security Council to designate the Revolutionary Guards, the Islamic Republic’s ideological army, as a terrorist organisation and to “impose all possible sanctions on Iran before it’s too late.”

On ‘the brink’

Addressing the emergency meeting, Iran’s UN Ambassador Amir Saeid Iravani insisted the Islamic republic was exercising its “inherent right to self-defense”.

“The Security Council … failed in its duty to maintain international peace and security,” Iravani said.

Therefore, Tehran “had no choice” but to respond, he said, adding that his country does “not seek escalation or war,” but will respond to any “threat or aggression”.

He also lashed out at Israel.

“It is time for the Security Council to shoulder its responsibility and address the real threat to international peace and security,” Iravani said.

The body “must take urgent and punitive measures to compel this regime to stop a genocide against the people of Gaza”, he said.

Similarly, the Charges d’Affaires in the Iranian embassy to Ireland, Kazem Sharif Kazemi, defended Iran’s response, saying that Iran gave 12 days to the international community to condemn the Israeli attack on the Iranian embassy in Damascus.

“Iran, for deterrence and especially for the peace and security, took these very limited military exercises under military objectives,” he said, speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s News at One.

He pushed back against criticism that Iran’s attacks could have killed civilians, trying to apportion responsibility to Israel: “It’s a good question but who is responsible [for] that?” 

The rising tensions come against the backdrop of the current conflict in Gaza. 

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 33,729 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the territory’s health ministry.

Since the 1979 Iranian revolution Israel has been considered a sworn enemy by the Islamic republic, which calls for Israel’s destruction.

Until now, Tehran had refrained from attacking Israel head-on, and the two countries have opted instead to confronting each other through third parties.

Includes reporting by Lauren Boland, Hayley Halpin, Diarmuid Pepper and © AFP 2024


Need more clarity and context on what is happening in the Middle East? Check out our new FactCheck Knowledge Bank for essential reads and guides to finding good information online.