Iran attack was ‘declaration of war’, Israeli president says – but insists ‘we are seeking peace’

World

Iran’s attack on Israel was a “declaration of war”, the country’s president has told Sky News – as he insisted “we are seeking peace”.

In an interview with Sky’s Middle East correspondent Alistair Bunkall, Isaac Herzog said world leaders need to “make it clear” to the Iranian regime that its behaviour is “unacceptable”.

He described Iran’s launch of more than 300 drones and missiles towards Israel on Saturday as “just another example of how they have operated for years and years”.

Follow live updates after Iran’s attack on Israel

“We were attacked last night from four corners of the Middle East with proxies shooting at us, firing missiles and ballistic missiles, drones and cruise missiles,” he said.

“This is like a real war. I mean, this is a declaration of war,” he said, before adding that Israel would exercise restraint.

Asked whether he agreed with the comments of Western allies who are calling for calm, Mr Herzog said: “The last thing that Israel is seeking in this region since its creation is to go to war – we are seeking peace.”

More on Iran

But he said Tehran has been “spreading havoc, terror and instability all over the world, and especially in our region”.

Iran has proxies all over the Middle East and terror cells all around the world, Mr Herzog went on.

Analysis:
Will Israel let an attack by Iran go unpunished? Probably not
All-out war, or not, in the Middle East?

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak confirmed the RAF shot down “a number” of Iranian attack drones.

The UK prime minister said “additional planes” were sent to the region as part of operations already under way in Iraq and Syria.

Had Iran’s attack on Israel been successful, the “fallout for regional stability would be hard to overstate”, Mr Sunak added.

“This was a dangerous and unnecessary escalation which I have condemned in the strongest terms,” he said.

US planes reportedly downed Iranian drones over northern Syria too.

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Will Israel respond to Iran’s attacks?

The Israel Defence Forces is “poised and prepared for further aggression”, IDF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told Sky News.

He also called the defence of Israel a “unity of reasonable players against the diabolical plan of Iran”.

Asked if Israel would respond, he said: “It’s a very good question. We are looking towards the government today, the government will convene later today and they will make their decisions and instruct the military accordingly.”

Iran‘s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has said it was responding to an “attack on the consular section of the Iranian embassy in Damascus” on 1 April.

Two generals and seven members of the IRGC were killed in the strike, which Tehran blamed on Israel. Israel has not publicly commented.

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