Iran warns against retaliation as global powers urge restraint

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian Photo: ATTA KENARE/ AFP

Iran warned Israel and the United States on Sunday of a much larger response if there is any retaliation for its mass drone and missile attack on Israeli territory overnight, as Israel said "the campaign is not over yet".

The threat of open warfare erupting between the arch Middle East foes and dragging in the United States has put the region on edge as Washington said America did not seek conflict with Iran but would not hesitate to protect its forces and Israel.

Iran launched the attack over a suspected Israeli strike on its consulate in Syria on April 1 that killed top Revolutionary Guards commanders and followed months of clashes between Israel and Iran's regional allies, triggered by the war in Gaza.

However, the attack from hundreds of missiles and drones, mostly launched from inside Iran, caused only modest damage in Israel as most were shot down with the help of the US, Britain and Jordan.

"We intercepted, we repelled, together we shall win," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on social media ahead of a planned 1230 GMT meeting of the war cabinet to discuss a response to the attack.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said despite thwarting the attack, the military campaign was not over and "we must be prepared for every scenario".

War cabinet minister Benny Gantz said on Sunday afternoon that Israel will exact a price from Iran when the time is right.

"We will build a regional coalition and exact the price from Iran in the fashion and timing that is right for us," Gantz said in a statement as the Israeli war cabinet was due to convene to discuss Israel's response.

Israel's Channel 12 TV cited an unnamed Israeli official overnight as saying there would be a "significant response".

Iranian Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian said Tehran had informed the United States its attack on Israel would be "limited" and for self defence.

He said Israel's neighbours had also been informed of its planned strikes 72-hours in advance.

Global powers Russia, China, France and Germany as well as the UAE, Egypt, and Qatar urged restraint.

"We will do everything to stop a further escalation," German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told reporters during a visit to China. "We can only warn everyone, especially Iran, against continuing this way."

Turkey also warned Iran it did not want further tension in the region.

Iran's mission to the United Nations said its actions were aimed at punishing "Israeli crimes", but that it now "deemed the matter concluded".

Iranian army chief of staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri warned on television that "our response will be much larger than tonight's military action if Israel retaliates against Iran" and told Washington its bases could also be attacked if it helped Israel retaliate.

The UN Security Council was set to meet at 4 p.m. ET (2000 GMT) on Sunday.

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