SPECIAL BRIEFING DAY 191: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak – “I condemn in the strongest terms the Iranian regime’s reckless attack against Israel”

By April 14 2024, 14:28 Latest News No Comments

Note to reader: We wanted to give you a trigger warning on what you may read below. We have chosen, as with every one of these briefings, to not share horrific images, however we want to alert you as sensitively as we can to the reports coming out of Israel and Gaza.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s statement on Iran’s attack on Israel

UK assists Israel in intercepting unprecedented attack by Iran

Israel and its partners including the UK, U.S., Jordan, intercepted hundreds of missiles and drones launched by Iran towards Israel in the early hours of the morning. This marks the largest drone attack to ever be launched.

Over 300 threats of “various types” were launched towards Israel, with 99% intercepted, said IDF Spokesperson Rear Adm Daniel Hagari in a press statement this morning.

Zero of approximately 170 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) crossed into Israeli territory, intercepted by Israeli Air Force (IAF) fighter jets, Israel’s Aerial Defence Array, other Israeli defensive systems, and aircrafts of its partners.

30 cruise missiles were also launched from Iran, 25 of which were intercepted by IAF fighter jets outside of Israel’s borders. Zero cruise missiles crossed into Israeli territory.

Of the 120 ballistic missiles launched, a few crossed into Israeli territory, falling at Nevatim Air Force Base, causing minor damage to infrastructure. The base remains operational.

Missiles were also launched by Iranian-backed allies in Iraq and Yemen – none of which crossed into Israeli territory, as well as dozens of rockets fired from Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israel in response struck Hezbollah targets within Lebanon including the al-Hajj Radwan Force.

A ten-year-old girl in the North of Israel was severely injured by falling shrapnel, and Jordan reported three deaths.

The RAF, already in the area due to Operation Shader against the Islamic State, intercepted Iranian drones above Syrian and Iraqi airspace. The UK also sent further fighter jets to assist.

Israel remains on high alert with schools closed over the coming days. They have since reopened their airspace which closed at 10.30pm GMT.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei released a video last night stating “The malicious Zionist regime will be punished”. The IRGC confirmed the launch of “dozens and drones and missiles”, labelling the operation “True Promise” in “response to the Zionist regime’s crime in attacking the consular section of the Iranian embassy in Damascus”.

Iran’s mission to the UN posted on X in the early hours of the morning that “the matter can be deemed concluded”.

The Israeli war cabinet is set to meet again this afternoon to discuss a response.

“I condemn in the strongest terms the Iranian regime’s reckless attack against Israel”, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement last night.

“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”, he added.

“The UK will continue to stand up for Israel’s security and that of all our regional partners, including Jordan and Iraq. Alongside our allies, we are urgently working to stabilise the situation and prevent further escalation. No one wants to see more bloodshed”.

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron noted on X that “Iran’s reckless attacks on Israel will only further inflame tensions in the Middle East”. “The UK calls on the Iranian regime to stop this serious escalation, which is in no one’s interest”, he added.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps stated that he “strongly condemn[s] the senseless airborne attack that Iran has launched on Israel. It serves no benefit other than to further undermine regional security”.

“Peace and stability are in everyone’s interest, and I urge Iran to immediately end all forms of destabilising behaviour”.

“In response to escalation in the region and in partnership with our allies, the Prime Minister and I have authorised the deployment of additional Royal Air Force assets”. Alongside additional assets in the region, “these jets will intercept any airborne attacks within range of our existing missions, as required”, declared the Defence Secretary.

U.S. President Biden in a press statement said that he had spoken with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “reaffirm America’s ironclad commitment to the security of Israel. I told him that Israel demonstrated a remarkable capacity to defend against and defeat even unprecedented attacks – sending a clear message to its foes that they cannot effectively threaten the security of Israel.

The U.S. has convened the G7 today.

Iranian cruise missiles over the Knesset, Jerusalem

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak: “It’s critical to remember that Hamas are still holding hostages, including Brits”

“We want to get the hostages released, unconditionally”, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told LBC on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister called for an “immediate humanitarian pause so we can get the hostages out who are still being kept, get more aid in, and use that as a platform for a more sustainable ceasefire”.

Speaking also to Sky News, he noted “there has been an improvement” of aid flow from Israel into Gaza after his phone call with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a couple of weeks ago.

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron: “Our plan is to support Israel and its legitimate right of self-defence to deal with the Hamas threat”.

Hamas leaders must be “removed from Gaza”, and the “terrorist infrastructure taken down”, in order to “bring this conflict to an end”, Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron declared in a press conference alongside U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday,

“We need the hostages to come home, we need the aid to get in, and it’s Hamas more than anyone else that are standing in the way of that happening”.

“The people responsible for holding these hostages are Hamas. They could release the hostages now”, reiterated Lord Cameron.

UK rejects calls to impost arms embargo on Israel

The UK has rejected calls to impose an arms embargo on Israel.

Both the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary this week has said that their policy towards Israel has not changed.

In an interview with LBC, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that the UK’s position on arms exports to Israel “hasn’t changed”, adding that the UK has “a longstanding process” with “one of the strictest export licensing regimes anywhere in the world”.

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron reaffirmed this in a press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. He underscored how the UK’s position on export licenses remains “unchanged”, and “Israel remains a vital defence and security partner to the UK”. “It’s important we maintain that support” Lord Cameron added.

Former Home Secretary Rt. Hon. Suella Braverman KC MP: “I very strongly rebut suggestions that Israel is in breach of international law”

“Israel is taking legitimate defensive measures to ensure attacks won’t happen again”, former Home Secretary Rt. Hon. Suella Braverman KC MP told LBC.

Israel have been “under fierce attack, not just since October 7th but for many years. They are not just fighting Hamas; they are fighting Hezbollah in the north, and the Iranian regime and Shia militias in the region”, underscored Braverman.

“I very strongly rebut suggestions that Israel is in breach of international law, that there’s a genocide, that there’s a forced starvation – quite the contrary”, she added.

“I would treat everything Hamas says as propaganda and misinformation”.

“Israel is doing a huge amount, using technology, sophisticated methods, and a lot of care to minimise civilian casualties”. “[Hamas] build tunnels. They base themselves underground, and they will often build a hospital above ground, or a kindergarten, or a mosque above ground to make it incredibly difficult as a battlefield”, Braverman highlighted.

Identifying a further difference between Israel and terror group Hamas, she noted that the “Israelis have been very quick to accept responsibility, to investigate fully, and to apologise [for the attack on seven World Central Kitchen aid workers]. They were incredibly regretful about it. Just contrast that with Hamas who celebrates and glorifies the killing of innocent civilians”.

“The source is Iran” she continued, highlighting the IRGC’s intent “to destroy Israel, to take over the Middle East, and to fund and support Islamic extremism and terrorism in the UK”.

Israel are “on the frontline of a broader war that actually directly affects us in the UK”. “The IRGC… are funding and supporting proxies to carry out targeted attacks on individuals on British soil”, Braverman stated, adding that they are a “chief sponsor of global terrorism”.

She urged the UK Government to proscribe the IRGC an “official terrorist organisation”.


Sons of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh killed in an IDF airstrike

Three of the sons of Hamas’ political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, were killed on Wednesday by an IDF airstrike. According to the IDF, Amir, Hazem and Mohammad Haniyeh were “en route to carry out terror activity in the area of central Gaza” when they were targeted. Four of Haniyeh’s grandchildren were also killed in the attack.

All three sons were terror operatives in the military wing of Hamas; Amir was a squad commander, whilst Hazem and Mohammed acted as lower-ranking operatives. It has been reported that one of the son’s killed was involved in holding Israeli hostages.

Haniyeh, based in Qatar, confirmed their deaths to Al Jazeera, and said that he “thank[s] god for bestowing upon us the honour of their martyrdom”.

“Their pure blood is for the liberation of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa, and we will continue to march on our road, and will not hesitate and will not falter,” Haniyeh declared..

“The blood of my sons is not dearer than the blood of our people”, he added, reiterating that Hamas will not surrender.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani have all reached out to Haniyeh offering their condolences.

Israel increases scope of humanitarian aid, as UNRWA undercounts trucks entering Gaza

Over 1,200 humanitarian aid trucks entered the Gaza Strip facilitated by Israel between 7 – 9 April, including 468 trucks inspected and transferred on 9 April – the highest number of aid trucks that entered the Gaza Strip since 7 October.

UNWRA, however, have stated only 560 trucks entered across these three days. In a statement on X, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli Governmental body who manages aid into Gaza, said that “attempting to conceal their logistical failures, the UN only counts the trucks they picked up”, pointing to an image of hundreds of aid trucks awaiting pick up on the Gazan side of Kerem Shalom.

COGAT further stated that they have extended crossing hours, opened additional direct humanitarian aid routes to northern Gaza, and permitted the entry of aid from the Ashdod port in order to increase aid flow.

All water lines in Gaza have now reopened, with the repair of the Bani Suheila water line completed, which will supply over 400,000 people in central Gaza with an additional 42 litres of high-quality water per person per day.

“These breakthroughs have a direct impact on the flow of aid — we plan to flood Gaza with aid”, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said on Wednesday.

“We are increasing the scope of aid. We are facing big challenges in terms of securing and distributing aid”, namely due to “Hamas threats”, he added.

Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health admits to “incomplete data” for over a third of reported casualties

The Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health admitted it had “incomplete data” for 11,371 of the 33,091 Palestinian fatalities it claims to have documented.

The Ministry said that it considers an individual record to be incomplete if it is missing any of the following key data points: Identity number, full name, date of birth, or date of death.

In a report, three days prior, on 3 April, the Hamas-run Health Ministry acknowledged the insufficient data of 12,263 records. There is no explanation as to why this number decreased by more than 900 records in such a short period of time.

The Ministry has previously admitted to sharing incomplete data, and has asserted that the information in more than 15,000 fatality records had stemmed from “reliable media sources”. However, these sources were unidentified by the Ministry, nor does Gaza have an independent media.

Aside from Hamas trying to shape the narrative coming out of Gaza, the Health Ministry’s figures have come under further scrutiny, as their data fails to take into account the number of terrorists killed – failing to distinguish between Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad fighters, and civilians.

The IDF has said that more than 12,000 terrorists have been killed since the start of their ground invasion.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist admits terror operatives use “all hospitals in the Gaza Strip”

Terror operatives use “all hospitals in the Gaza Strip… because there is internet there 24 hours, there is electricity 24 hours”, revealed Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist Tarek Abu Shaluf, in an IDF interrogation.

Abu Shaluf is the spokesman of PIJ’s political wing, and was among the 500 confirmed terrorists arrested at Gaza City’s Al-Shifa Hospital last month.

The IDF released the footage from Abu Shaluf‘s interogation on Monday, highlighting that Abu Shaluf “advanced acts of incitement and propaganda from within the Shifa Hospital, and [that he] testified to the use of the compound and medical equipment for terror purposes”.

Additionally, Abu Shaluf admitted it was a failed PIJ airstrike that hit Al-Ahli Hospital in northern Gaza on 17 October — a strike that Hamas Israel for.

The Hospital was hit by “a local rocket. We said it was Israeli”, Abu Shaluf confirmed.

Hostage testimony: Abducted by armed Gaza civilians and sold to Hamas

Nili Margalit, 42, was pulled out of her safe room in her home in Kibbutz Nir Oz and covered with a white sheet while surrounded by “civilians [from Gaza] armed with Kalashnikovs”, she told Le Point French magazine in an interview on Monday.

Margalit was taken to Khan Younis, where her civilian captors “negotiated with Hamas to sell me. When they were paid, I was taken straight into a tunnel”.

Margalit was initially taken to an area with around thirty other people, who she knew as friends and neighbours from Nir Oz. “The men had swollen faces and injured legs after being dragged on a motorbike”, she recalled.

The hostages were then divided into smaller groups, including one that was made up of people above the age of 70.Margalit was taken to a small room with around a dozen hostages under the watch of four guards.

“Several hostages did not have their glasses, or hearing aids or lacked oxygen”, she said. Maraglit, an emergency room nurse, helped the hostages establish a routine in which she treated the hostages in need of medicine, of which they were “short on stock”, and acted as “their eyes and ears” inside the tunnels.

The hostages were given limited amounts of food, comprising of small daily rations of rice and bread that caused stomach issues for some of the hostages, Margalit recollected.

Once released, on 30 November, Margalit found out the following day that her father was killed in Gaza, where his body remains.

She told Le Point, “freeing the hostages is the key to ending this war”, adding that her “rehabilitation will begin the day the hostages are out”.

Iran is trying to flood the West Bank with as weapons through smuggling network

Handguns, rifles, antitank missiles, and rocket-propelled grenades are amongst the weapons found to have been smuggled into the West Bank by Iran.

Iranian, Israeli and U.S. officials have revealed that Iran is operating a smuggling network across the Middle East with the aim of turning the West Bank into a hotbed of terrorist activity directed at Israel.

The network has been uncovered to include intelligence operatives, militants and criminal gangs. One route relies on operatives carrying weapons from Syria to Jordan, and then transferred to Bedouin smugglers in Israel who transport the weapons to the West Bank. Another route relies on Hezbollah operatives in Lebanon who transfer the weapons to Syria before gangs distribute them to the West Bank.

This network began approximately two years ago, officials told the New York Times, when Iran started utilising the routes previously used to smuggle other contraband around the Middle East.

A large quantity of weapons were ceased in the West Bank last week by the Shin Bet, which were smuggled in via the network.

“It would not have been easy for the Palestinian people to withstand this battle had it not been for Iran’s continuous and consistent support at all political, military and security levels,” said Ziyad al-Nakhalah of Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad in a speech in Tehran in March.

Israel and Indonesia to normalise relations, in order to smooth Indonesia’s entry into the OECD

Israel and Indonesia are seeking to normalise ties as part of a deal to allow Indonesia’s entry into the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an Israeli official said on Thursday.

The official told Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth that discreet talks have taken place between Jerusalem, Jakarta and the OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann.

Indonesia, looking to join the 38-nation forum, needs to receive unanimous support to ensure entry. Israel has reportedly objected to Indonesia’s membership due no official diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Indonesia, with a Muslim majority population, has previously said they will not normalise relations with Israel until there is a Palestinian state, although the two countries maintain direct and indirect trade agreements amounting to $500 million per year.

The country has been plagued with anti-Israel sentiment, resulting in it being stripped of hosting the men’s Under-20 World Cup after opposing Israel’s participation in March 2023.

They have also filed a pending case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on “Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory”.

Despite this, Indonesia has been allowed to participate in a humanitarian aid airdrop mission over Gaza for the first time this week, indicating a warming of ties and roadmap to normalisation.

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