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Blinken calls for calm after ‘Israel attacks Iran’ as embassy faces threat – live

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Iranian state television reports explosions

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called for calm after an alleged Israeli drone strike on Iran that was launched in retaliation to last week’s Iranian strike on Israel.

As a result of the attack, which has not been claimed by Israel, Tehran was forced to activate its air defence system above the city of Isfahan, home of sites linked to Iran’s nuclear programme, in the early hours of Friday.

Speaking at a news conference in Capri during a Group of Seven (G7) ministerial meeting, Mr Blinken said later in the day: “What we’re focused on, what the G7 is focused on, and again, it’s reflected in our statement, and in our conversation, is our work to de-escalate tensions, to de-escalate from any potential conflicts.”

Meanwhile, armed police descended on the area of Iran’s consulate in Paris on Friday as a man was arrested over an alleged bomb threat to the embassy.

A police source said the suspect was seen at about 11am local time entering the embassy, carrying what appeared to be a grenade and explosive vest. However, on being searched he was found not to be carrying any explosives.

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Iran and Israel won’t stop fighting, but WW3 has been averted… for now

From the early hours of this morning, a blizzard of reports spoke of an attack on an airbase near Isfahan, in central Iran. Such an attack was hardly unexpected. For all the appeals, from the US, the UK, and many others, Israel had left no doubt that it would mount a military response to Iran’s failed assault the week before.

Tara Cobham20 April 2024 07:00

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Iran’s nuclear sites unharmed, says UN watchdog after explosions heard

Iran fired its air defence batteries and shut down flight operations in several parts of the country as Israel allegedly launched retaliatory missiles in an overnight attack.

It was unclear if Iran came under attack, as no Iranian official directly acknowledged the possibility and Israel’s military has so far not responded to The Independent’s request for comment.

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar reports:

Tara Cobham20 April 2024 06:00

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G7 foreign ministers’ communique warns of new sanctions on Iran and urges de-escalation

Group of Seven foreign ministers warned of new sanctions against Iran on Friday for its drone and missile attack on Israel, and urged both sides to avoid an escalation of the conflict.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, who chaired the meeting of ministers of industrialized countries, said the agenda of the three-day meeting was changed on Friday to address the latest developments.

Early Friday, Iran fired air defenses at a major air base and a nuclear site near the central city of Isfahan after spotting drones. They were suspected to be part of an Israeli attack in retaliation for Tehran’s unprecedented drone-and-missile assault on the country last weekend.

Tara Cobham20 April 2024 05:00

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White House says it has ‘no comment’ on overnight drone attack in Iran

The White House has no comment on reports of drone attacks in Iran overnight, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said on Friday.

The lack of comment is a departure for the White House which routinely weighs in on the latest developments in the conflict in the region.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken declined to say whether the US was warned about the strike. He, however, emphasised that “the United States has not been involved in any offensive operations”.

Biden administration has instructed US officials at multiple government agencies to not speak about Israel’s actions in Iran, according to the Washington Post.

Shweta Sharma20 April 2024 04:49

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One killed and six jured after explosion at Iranian-aligned Iraqi army unit in Baghdad

An explosion rocked an Iraqi military base that was housing pro-Iranian paramilitaries late on Friday, security sources said.

One Popular Mobilization Forces fighter was killed and six were wounded, two sources at a hospital in the nearby city of Hilla told Reuters.

The explosion hit the Kalso military base of Iraq’s PMF, 50km (30 miles) south of Baghdad. The base was used by the former pro-Iranian paramilitary group Hashed al-Shaabi which has been now integrated into the regular army. It is also referred to as the Popular Mobilization Forces.

“The blast has caused material damage and injuries,” PMF said in a statement, adding that a team was investigating.

The two security sources said it was not known who was responsible for the air strike. A US official said there had been no US military activity in Iraq.

The attack near the Iraqi capital of Baghdad came a day after strikes at an Iranian military base in Isfahan.

Shweta Sharma20 April 2024 04:36

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‘More like toys’: Iran downplays Isfahan drone strike

Iran has downplayed the overnight drone strike on Isfahan and dismissed its links to Israel while mocking the drones as “more like toys”.

Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told NBC News that the drones took off from inside Iran and flew for a few hundred metres before being downed.

He mocked the attack, saying: “They’re … more like toys that our children play with, not drones.”

“It has not been proved to us that there is a connection between these and Israel,” he said, adding that Iran was investigating the matter but that media reports were not accurate, according to Tehran’s information.

Israel has not officially claimed responsibility for the attack after reports of explosions in Isfahan province.

Iranian media and officials described a small number of explosions, which they said resulted from air defenses hitting three drones over Isfahan in central Iran in the early hours of Friday. They referred to the incident as an attack by “infiltrators”, rather than by Israel, obviating the need for retaliation.

Shweta Sharma20 April 2024 04:08

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Watch again as Antony Blinken speaks from G7 summit after strikes on Iran

Tara Cobham20 April 2024 04:00

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Rishi Sunak calls for ‘calm heads’ as Israel suspected to have launched attack on Iran

Rishi Sunak has called for “calm heads to prevail” as Britain has urged de-escalation following Israel’s suspected retaliatory attack on Iran – with explosions heard near a major military airbase.

While foreign secretary David Cameron met with his G7 counterparts in Italy to discuss easing tensions in the Middle East on Friday, Tehran was forced to activate its air defence system above the city of Isfahan, which is also home to sites associated with Iran’s nuclear programme.

Asked about the emerging reports on Sky News, a government minister said the UK accepts Israel’s “absolute right to defend itself” – but insisted Britain was “very firmly engaged in counselling de-escalation and moderation at this particular moment”.

Tara Cobham20 April 2024 03:00

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White House says it has ‘no comment’ on reports of Israel’s attack in Iran overnight

The White House has no comment on reports of Israeli attacks in Iran overnight, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said on Friday.

The lack of comment is departure for a White House that routinely weighs in on the latest developments in Israel conflict.

Tara Cobham20 April 2024 02:00

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Recap: Watch as explosions heard and blast of light seen over Iranian city in suspected Israeli attack

Explosions heard as blast of light seen over Iran city in suspected Israel missile attack

Tara Cobham20 April 2024 01:00

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