War in the Middle East: De-escalation: Iran calms down after Israel attack

War in the Middle East: De-escalation: Iran calms down after Israel attack

A suspected Israeli attack on Iran gave rise to fears of the worst. But the logic of strike and counter-strike could be broken. The situation still remains delicate. The news at a glance.

The violent spiral of attack and counterattack between Israel and Iran may have stopped, at least for the time being. This was indicated by the limited extent of the attack on Iran early on Friday morning – which, according to consistent media reports, was carried out by Israel – and Tehran’s dismissive reaction. Previously, in a rare agreement, not only Israel’s Western partners such as the USA, Germany and the EU, but also Russia and China called for de-escalation in view of the risk of a conflagration throughout the region.

Never before have the enemy countries been so close to war. Israel sees its arch-enemy Iran’s controversial nuclear program and massive missile and drone arsenal as the greatest threat to its existence. The leadership of the Islamic Republic denies the Jewish state the right to exist.

The Israeli government announced a response after Iran fired more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel last weekend, marking the first direct attack on the country. Tehran said it was retaliating for the deaths of two generals in an attack allegedly carried out by Israel on the Iranian embassy compound in the Syrian capital Damascus. If Israel launches a counterstrike, Iran’s next strike will be much more violent, it was said from Tehran.

But now Iranian Foreign Minister Hussein Amirabdollahian almost dismissed the violent explosions not far from his country’s nuclear facilities on Friday morning as a triviality. “There was no damage or casualties from the small drones shot down near Isfahan,” the Iranian state news agency Irna quoted him as saying. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi did not even mention the attack during a speech in Semnan province.

In Israel, the government remained eloquently silent. Only right-wing police minister Itamar Ben-Gvir criticized the attack as “lame” and suggested that his country was behind the action. Observers interpreted the cautious reactions as a sign that both sides want to avoid further escalation.

Blinken: USA was not involved

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a meeting of G7 foreign ministers on the Italian Mediterranean island of Capri that he would “not elaborate on Friday’s events – other than to say that the United States was not involved in any offensive operations.” He again warned of an escalation. “We are committed to Israel’s security,” Blinken said. Chancellor Olaf Scholz also warned again on Friday that the conflict would expand. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed concern about the situation in the Middle East. “It is crucial that the conflict does not get out of control and we therefore call on all parties to show restraint,” emphasized the Norwegian.

According to a report in the Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post, the attack targeted an air force base in Isfahan, central Iran. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Iranian nuclear facilities near the city were not hit. Iranian state media rejected US media reports of a missile attack. Only several small flying objects were shot at.

The US broadcaster ABC News, however, reported, citing an unnamed US representative, that Israeli fighter jets that were outside Iranian airspace had fired three missiles at a radar system that was part of the defense system of the Natans nuclear facility northwest of Isfahan be. The radar system was probably destroyed.

Shadow war between Israel and Iran has a long history

Since the Gaza War began in October 2023 following the massacres in Israel by the Islamist Hamas and other extremists from the Gaza Strip, the decades-old conflict between Israel and the Islamic Republic of Iran has escalated dramatically. The Jewish state finds itself under attack on multiple fronts following attacks by militias allied with Iran in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Meanwhile, Israeli troops continued their fight against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the Shiite militia Hezbollah in Lebanon. The number of deaths in the Gaza war rose to 34,012, according to the Hamas-controlled health authority. In addition, more than 76,800 people were injured. The numbers, which do not distinguish between fighters and civilians, are difficult to independently verify.

Baerbock annoyed

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock expressed her anger at reports that there had been a massive dispute between her and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “We do not report on confidential conversations,” she emphasized at the G7 summit in Capri. An Israeli journalist reported on the platform The Green politician then pointed out the hunger in the coastal area. Netanyahu is said to have contradicted this and said that the images were real and that Israel was not depicting an invented reality like the Nazis once did. In 1942, the Nazi regime had, among other things, a propaganda film made with staged scenes of everyday life in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Israel: More aid for the Gaza Strip

Meanwhile, Israel says it has increased its efforts to supply the people of the Gaza Strip with humanitarian aid. On Thursday, 276 trucks carrying food and medicine drove into the contested coastal area, said the Israeli authority Cogat, which is responsible for contacts with the Palestinians and humanitarian aid. On the same day, 144 pallets of food were also dropped from the air. However, aid organizations complain that far too little is still reaching the suffering civilian population.

EU imposes sanctions on Israeli settlers

The EU imposed sanctions for the first time over violence by radical Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank. The member states decided on the punitive measures on Friday in a written procedure, as several diplomats confirmed to the German Press Agency. According to the information, the sanctions are aimed at people and organizations that are said to be responsible for violence against Palestinians in the West Bank. The USA also tightened sanctions against radical settlers.

That will be important on Saturday

Hamas’s foreign chief, Ismail Haniya, travels to Turkey to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Source: Stern

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