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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

‘Time to be smart’ – UK on Israel-Iran tensions

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said he hoped there would be no “retaliatory response” to Iran’s attack

Israel has every right to retaliate after the Iranian drone and missile attack over the weekend but would be better served by refraining from an escalation, UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron has said.

The Iranian strikes, which Israeli officials say involved around 300 drones and missiles of various types, came in response to the bombing of an Iranian consular compound in Syria earlier this month that left several senior Iranian military officers dead. Iran believes that Israel was behind the strike, although West Jerusalem has neither claimed nor denied responsibility.

Read more: Iranian media names weapons used to strike Israel

In an interview with Sky News on Monday, Cameron, who served as UK prime minister between 2010 and 2016 and was appointed foreign secretary last year, described the Iranian strike as a “double defeat.” He argued that the attack “was almost a total failure, and they’ve revealed to the world that they are the malign influence in the region.”

Pointing to the scale of the attack, Cameron remarked: “Of course if you’re sitting in Israel this morning you’re thinking quite rightly – ‘We have every right to respond to this’… But we are urging that they shouldn’t escalate.”

“I totally understand those in Israel who want to see more, but I think this is a time to think with head as well as heart and to be smart as well as tough,” he argued.

Read more: Russia tells Israel to condemn Ukraine

Cameron added that he hoped there would be no “retaliatory response,” and that the world would shift its focus back to Hamas and the hostages that had been captured by the Palestinian armed group after it attacked Israel last year.

Israeli officials claimed that the military shot down 99% of the incoming Iranian drones and missiles and that the attack did “only minor damage to the infrastructure at the Nevatim base.” Air force operations in the area were not affected, the officials added.

Iran, however, has insisted that the barrage was more successful than expected, claiming that “important military targets” had been destroyed, and that Nevatim air base was rendered inoperable. Tehran said that it had no intention of continuing the attacks but warned Israel of a harsh response if it were to retaliate.

CNN, citing sources, reported that Israel has so far made no decision on how to respond. One of the network’s sources noted that an Israeli official told the US that his country was not looking to escalate the standoff.