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Israel 'has a duty to respond' after Iran missile attack as army given stark warning


Israel’s military chief said on Monday that the country will respond after Iran launched an attack involving hundreds of drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. World leaders are urging Israel not to retaliate.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says “all sides must show restraint” to avoid a rising spiral of violence in the Middle East. French President Emmanuel Macron said Paris will try to “convince Israel that we must not respond by escalating”.

Defence commentator and former army officer Lt Col Stuart Crawford believes it would be Israel’s “duty” to respond to the attack.

He told Express.co.uk: “Defence of the state and its people is the first duty of any government. Israel has not just the right to respond but also a duty to do so. How and when it might retaliate is a matter for the Israeli government.”

‌He added: “I think the Iranian government might have made a strategic mistake here in the scale of its attack. It has handed the moral high ground back to Israel at a time when the Israeli government was coming under increasing pressure to cease its actions in Gaza. I would be surprised if Israel chooses to launch attacks on mainland Iran, but you never know.

“Whatever happens, and despite President Biden’s caveats, the Israelis know that the USA will never allow them to be overwhelmed.

“In the meantime, if I were a senior figure in the IRGC I’d be ditching my mobile phone, varying my daily routine in time and space, and checking under my car every time before getting into it.”

The Iranian attack on Saturday marked the first time Iran has launched a direct military assault on Israel, despite decades of enmity dating back to the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. The attack happened less than two weeks after a suspected Israeli strike in Syria that killed two Iranian generals in an Iranian consular building.

An Israeli military spokesman said that 99 percent of the drones and missiles launched by Iran were intercepted.

Israel and Iran have been on a collision course throughout Israel’s six-month war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. The war erupted after Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two militant groups backed by Iran, carried out a devastating cross-border attack on Oct. 7 that killed 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped 250 others.

An Israeli offensive in Gaza has caused widespread devastation and killed over 33,700 people, according to local health officials.

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