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Israel’s President Herzog Says Iran’s Launching of Drones, Missiles A Declaration Of War

Israel has disclosed that it is discussing with partners across the world in response to the attacks from Iran.

The Israeli president, Isaac Herzog, over the weekend, stated the latest attacks from Iran constituted a “declaration of war” against the State of Israel.

Israel, which said it was already mulling the options before it, since it understood the repercussion of what had happened, also disclosed it was discussing with its partners across the world.

The G7 also met in the light of the development and to review the situation, but immediately committed to the security of Israel.

But the United States president, Joe Biden told the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that since the attacks appeared to have caused minimal casualties and damage, the US would not help in any counter-attacks against Iran, a senior administration official said.

At the same time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir -Abdollahian warned that an escalation of the situation and “provocative acts” could increase tension in the Middle East, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Nevertheless, the Nigerian government called on both Israel and Iran to exercise restraint in the ongoing face-off between the two countries.

Herzog, speaking on Sunday said, “This is real war. I mean, this is a declaration of war. Now, because we are restrained and because we know the repercussions, and because we have deliberations with our partners, we are considering all options and I’m quite confident that we will take the necessary steps that are necessary to protect and defend our people.”

This came as Israeli war cabinet, weekend, vowed to exact a price from Iran at a time suitable to it following the launch of 300 ballistic missiles and drones at the country by Iran on Saturday.

Israeli defence forces said 99 percent of the projectiles were intercepted.

A total of 170 drones, 30 cruise missiles and 120 ballistic missiles were fired at Israel on Saturday, the Israeli military said.

US officials said more than 70 drones were intercepted by US Navy ships and military aircraft.

“Iran met the strength of the Israeli security system,” Israel War Cabinet Minister, Benny Gantz, said, a reference to the minimal damage caused by the assault involving hundreds of projectiles.

Gantz spoke at a meeting of the war cabinet on Sunday.

Out of 30 cruise missiles fired by Iran, 25  were intercepted by Israeli Air Force fighter jets outside the country’s borders. None of the 30 missiles crossed into Israeli territory.

Of the 120 ballistic missiles fired, only a few crossed into Israeli territory and the rest were intercepted. 

The ones that did make landfall fell at the Nevatim Air Force Base, which caused minor damage. The base continued to be operational.

Also, dozens of rockets were launched from Iraq, Yemen and Lebanese territory, according to the IDF. 

None of them crossed into Israeli territory and they caused zero casualties.

Biden, in phone conversation with Netanyahu, said the attack “constituted” a win for Israel since no target of value was hit.

The US president also held a meeting with G7 member nations to review the situation, where they committed to the security of Israel.

Biden said the meeting was held “to coordinate a united diplomatic response” to the “brazen attack,” and added that the US and other allies helped Israel to intercept most of the drones and missiles.

The attack followed an air strike by Israeli forces on Iranian consulate in Syria that killed three army commanders, an offshoot of an earlier attack on Israel by Iran-backed Hamas terror group that led to the death of 1,300 citizens of Israel.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians have been killed in retaliatory air strikes by Israel.

The Israeli war cabinet is composed of Netanyahu and Defense minister, Yoav Gallant. 

Others in attendance at Sunday’s meeting were Defence Forces Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi; Mossad Director, David Barnea; observer members, Gadi Eisenkot and Aryeh Deri; National Security Adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi and Cabinet Secretary, Yossi Fuchs.

As of Sunday morning, it wasn’t clear how much damage was caused by the attack.

Biden, however, told Netanyahu that since the attacks appeared to have caused minimal casualties and damage, the US would not help in any counter-attacks against Iran, a senior administration said.

Officials were reportedly worried Israel would retaliate anyway.

But Israeli president said Israel wanted peace.

“We are seeking peace. We are peace seekers. 

We went to peace with our neighbours time and time again,” Herzog explained before acknowledging the advice his government had received from world leaders like Biden to “take the win” and not retaliate against Iran.

“We always listen to our partners and allies. 

We respect their view,” he said. “We are also always reviewing all our options, and as I said, we will take whatever it takes to protect and defend our people.” 

Meanwhile, Lavrov and Amir-Abdollahian warned that escalation of the situation and “provocative acts” could heighten tension in the Middle East, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“It was noted that a further escalation of tensions in the region and new, dangerous provocative actions could lead to a boost in tensions in the Middle East,” the ministry said of a telephone call between the two ministers.

“Preventing such scenarios and removing their primary reasons must be a priority matter for the U.N. Security Council,” it added.

Nigeria, in a press statement on by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Francisca Omayuli, called for restraint.

The statement read, “The Federal Government of Nigeria joins other members of the international community to call on Iran and Israel to exercise restraint, as diplomatic efforts are ongoing to ease tension and avoid a wider conflict in the Middle East.

“In this critical period, it behoves the two countries to reflect on the universal commitment to peaceful resolution of conflicts, for the advancement of global peace and security.”

Kingsley Nwezeh and Michael Olugbode

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