'Clear' Israel ‘making decision to act’ after Iranian drone attack, says Lord Cameron

The Israeli prime minister is determined to respond to the attack by Iran despite pressure from its allies, ITV News Correspondent John Irvine reports

  • Israel's military said it intercepted 99% of the more than 300 Iranian drones and missiles that were launched at it over the weekend

  • Iran said it was responding to an attack - which it has blamed Israel for - against its consulate in Syria earlier this month

  • A small number of hits had been identified at a military base in southern Israel, causing only minor damage to infrastructure, while the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said a seven-year-old girl has been severely injured by shrapnel from an interceptor missile

Israel is “making the decision to act” in response to Saturday’s attack by Iran, the Foreign Secretary has said as he visited the country for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other high level senior figures about its response to a drone and missile attack by Iran over the weekend.

Lord Cameron travelled to Israel late on Tuesday to discuss Tel Aviv’s response the drone and missile barrage, having previously urged Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu to show restraint.

He met senior Israeli figures, including Mr Netanayahu and Israeli president Isaac Herzog, and is expected to visit the West Bank and Palestinian Authority prime minister Mohammad Mustafa before heading to a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in Italy.

Lord Cameron said he hoped the G7 meeting would result in further “co-ordinated sanctions” against Iran, saying Tehran needed to be sent “a clear and unequivocal message”.

Israel’s government has said the attack “will be met with a response”, which saw almost 300 drones and missiles fired at Israel.

The UK and other nations have urged restraint from Israel in a bid to try to prevent further escalation in the Middle East.

Israel is “making the decision to act” in response to Saturday’s attack by Iran, Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron has said

Speaking to broadcasters in Jerusalem, Lord Cameron said: “It is right to have shown solidarity with Israel. It is right to have made our views clear about what should happen next, but it is clear the Israelis are making the decision to act.

“We hope they do so in a way that does as little to escalate this as possible and in a way that, as I said yesterday, is smart as well as tough.

“But the real need is to refocus back on Hamas, back on the hostages, back on getting the aid in, back on getting a pause in the conflict in Gaza.”

Downing Street echoed the Foreign Secretary’s comments, urging Israel to avoid “significant escalation”.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters: “Israel has successfully repelled the Iranian attack and Iran is even more isolated on the world stage.

“We want to avoid significant further escalation and bloodshed which would only be deeply destabilising for the region and risk more loss of life.”

Mr Netanyahu appeared to respond in a statement released on Wednesday maintaining that Israel "will do whatever it needs".

"They have all sorts of suggestions and advice. I appreciate that. But I want to be clear: Our decisions we will make ourselves, and the state of Israel will do whatever it needs to defend itself," he said.

Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would 'make its own decisions' amid pressure from international leaders. Credit: Abir Sultan/Pool Photo/AP

Rishi Sunak told Mr Netanyahu it is “a moment for calm heads to prevail” in Israel’s response to Iran’s missile and drone attack in a call on Tuesday.

The prime minister spoke to his counterpart after first telling MPs 24 hours earlier that he would speak to Mr Netanyahu “shortly”. Israeli media had reported that Mr Netanyahu was refusing to take calls from world leaders seeking to influence the response to Saturday night’s attack.

Almost all of the projectiles were shot down by Israeli air defences with the help of the UK, US, France and Jordan.

Iran's attack was carried out in response to a strike in Syria on April 1 that killed senior Iranian military officials. Israel has not claimed responsibility for the attack, but is widely thought to be behind it.

David Cameron is just one of several Western foreign ministers expected to head to the region to advise that any further escalation would result in further destablisation in the Middle East.

After visiting the West Bank, Lord Cameron is expected to fly to Italy to meet with other G7 foreign ministers, where a united call for Israel to exercise restraint after Iran’s weekend attack will be mooted.

Lord Cameron said he hoped the G7 meeting would result in further “co-ordinated sanctions” against Iran, saying Tehran needed to be sent “a clear and unequivocal message”.

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