Iran warns Israel of escalation if Gaza airstrikes continue.
US officials express concerns about conflict spreading.
Drone and rocket attacks target Iraqi bases with US-led coalition troops.
Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, issued a warning to Israel, emphasizing that continued airstrikes on Gaza could lead to a dangerous escalation in the Middle East.
He also attributed some responsibility to the United States for supplying military support to Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in response, rallied his troops, framing the conflict with Hamas as a critical and decisive battle for the survival of his people.
It’s worth noting that Iran supports both Hamas, which initiated the conflict by attacking Israel two weeks ago, resulting in the deaths of 1,400 people, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
The ongoing conflict has led to a significant loss of life, with more than 4,600 Palestinians killed in Gaza over the past two weeks, according to figures from the Hamas-run health ministry. Israel has also announced an escalation of its airstrikes.
“I warn the US and its proxy Israel that if they do not immediately stop the crime against humanity and genocide in Gaza, anything is possible at any moment and the region will go out of control,” Mr. Amir-Abdollahian said at a news conference in Tehran.
He said that the results could be “severe, bitter” and “have far-reaching repercussions”, both regionally and for those advocating for war.
The foreign minister added that US military support for Israel was evidence that the ongoing conflict in Gaza was “a proxy war carried out by Israel on behalf of the United States”.
Top US officials are also warning the conflict could spread.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned of the prospect of “significant escalation of attacks” on US troops or citizens.
“If any group or any country is looking to widen this conflict and take advantage of this very unfortunate situation… our advice is: don’t,” he said on the ABC network’s This Week programme.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also mentioned a “likelihood of escalation” from Iranian proxies, such as Hezbollah or Hamas, and said the US was “taking every measure to make sure we can defend” Israelis and US citizens.
In recent days, there have been drone and rocket attacks targeting multiple Iraqi bases housing troops from the US-led coalition.
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited troops stationed in northern Israel, close to the Lebanese border. This region has experienced exchanges of fire with Hezbollah since the conflict’s outset.
“We’re in a battle for our lives. A battle for our home, this is not an exaggeration, this is the war. It’s do or die – they need to die,” he said.
He warned Hezbollah not to enter the war.
“[Hezbollah] will be making the biggest mistake of their lives. And we will hit them with an unimaginable force. It will mean devastation for them and the state of Lebanon,” he said.
For its part, Hezbollah has declared that it is “fully ready to fight against Israel”.
In the exchanges of fire between Israel and Hamas in southern Lebanon, there have been reported casualties, with at least 27 people killed. Israeli military reports indicate that at least five soldiers and one civilian have been killed in Israel.
As a precautionary measure, Israel has ordered the evacuation of dozens of communities in the northern region, and this directive included an additional 14 communities on Sunday.
In neighboring Syria, where Iran has a military presence, Israeli missiles struck Damascus and Aleppo international airports early on Sunday, resulting in the death of at least two workers, as reported by Syrian state media. Due to the damage to their runways, both airports are currently out of use.