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UK PM Rishi Sunak condemns Iran’s ‘reckless’ attack against Israel, deploys jets

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps said it launched dozens of drones and missiles at Israel, an attack that may trigger a major escalation between the regional archenemies.
Last Updated : 14 April 2024, 01:09 IST
Last Updated : 14 April 2024, 01:09 IST

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London: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has condemned Iran’s attack against Israel as “reckless” and pledged that the UK would stand up for security in the region after Tehran launched dozens of aerial drones and cruise missiles overnight on Saturday and into Sunday.

The UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said late on Saturday that several additional Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter jets had been moved to the region to help intercept the drone attacks.

The aircraft and air-fuelling tankers are being deployed as part of the UK's ongoing Operation Shader against the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group in the region.

“I condemn in the strongest terms the Iranian regime’s reckless attack against Israel,” said Sunak in a statement issued by 10 Downing Street.

“These strikes risk inflaming tensions and destabilising the region. Iran has once again demonstrated that it is intent on sowing chaos in its own backyard. The UK will continue to stand up for Israel’s security and that of all our regional partners, including Jordan and Iraq,” said the British Indian leader.

“Alongside our allies, we are urgently working to stabilise the situation and prevent further escalation. No one wants to see more bloodshed,” he added.

The Israeli military said it intercepted the majority of the attacks with the help of other countries, including the US.

“We have moved several additional Royal Air Force jets and air refuelling tankers to the region. These will bolster Operation Shader, which is the UK’s existing counter-Daesh (ISIS) operation in Iraq and Syria. In addition, these UK jets will intercept any airborne attacks within range of our existing missions, as required,” a UK MoD statement said.

“We will continue to cooperate closely with our regional partners in the interest of de-escalation,” it stated.

UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said Iran’s “senseless” actions further undermine regional security amid the Israel-Hamas conflict.

“We continue to work with Israel and partners in the region to prevent further escalation. Peace and stability are in everyone’s interest, and I urge Iran to immediately end all forms of destabilising behaviour,” said Shapps.

The widely anticipated retaliatory attack by Iran follows a strike on its consulate in Syria earlier this month, which killed seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officers, including a top commander. The Iranian government has accused Israel of carrying out that attack, but Israel has neither confirmed nor denied it.

India has said it is "seriously concerned" at the escalation of hostilities between Israel and Iran, which threatens the peace and security in the region.

“We call for immediate de-escalation, exercise of restraint, stepping back from violence and return to the path of diplomacy. We are closely monitoring the evolving situation. Our Embassies in the region are in close touch with the Indian community. It is vital that security and stability are maintained in the region,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) statement reads.

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Published 14 April 2024, 01:09 IST

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