Diplomatic efforts to prevent a conflagration in the Middle East remain in full swing. Qatar is considering resigning as mediator.

A gray warship sails on the water, with a sandy landscape in the background

Between defense and attack. An Israeli Iron Dome missile defense battery on a warship off Eilat Photo: Reuters/Ammar Awad

BRUSSELS/TEL AVIV dpa | While Israel's closest allies urge Israel to refrain from a harsh counterreaction after the major Iranian attack, the Jewish state reserves its own decision on how to proceed. The EU called on both Israel and Iran to refrain from further attacks on each other. All parties are urged to exercise extreme restraint and not take any measures that could increase tensions in the region, according to a statement from the heads of state and government released Thursday evening at the EU summit in Brussels. .

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also once again called for “maximum restraint” in the face of “dangerous rhetoric in the region,” as his spokesman said. According to Israeli news site Ynet, Israel's war cabinet wants to discuss a response to the Iranian attack, stalled negotiations over a Gaza war hostage deal and the intensified conflict with the pro-Iranian militia Hezbollah in Lebanon on Thursday. .

Following crisis talks with Germany and Britain, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday he appreciated “suggestions and advice.” However, Israel will make its own decisions and “will do whatever is necessary to defend itself,” Netanyahu said after meeting Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and British Foreign Minister David Cameron. Before traveling to the G7 foreign ministers' meeting in Capri, Baerbock urged Iran and Israel to exercise “maximum restraint.” She warned: “A spiral of escalation would serve no one.” Foreign ministers from the group of seven economically strong democracies will discuss new sanctions against Iran on Thursday in view of the threat of a conflagration.

Iran renews warning of Israeli retaliation

The Iranian attack on Israel on Sunday night with hundreds of drones and missiles was sparked by an alleged Israeli attack on the Iranian embassy in the Syrian capital, Damascus. Earlier this month, two generals of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard were killed. Israel has already announced retaliation for Iran's attack. Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi on Wednesday renewed his warning against a counterattack. If Israel carried out even the slightest “aggression” against Iran, the Iranian response would be “devastating” and Israelis would bitterly regret it, Raisi said, according to the Tasnim news agency.

Conflict with pro-Iran Hezbollah intensifies

Meanwhile, Israel's air force said it attacked the military infrastructure of the pro-Iran militia Hezbollah in northern Lebanon after an attack from Lebanon that left numerous people wounded on Wednesday night. The facility in the Baalbek area is used by Hezbollah's air defense system, he said. At least 14 soldiers were wounded in northern Israel in an attack from Lebanon, the Israeli military previously said. Israeli media reported, citing a treatment clinic, that 18 people were injured. According to the Times of Israel, four civilians were among the victims. Al-Manar television, controlled by the pro-Iran Shiite militia in Lebanon, reported that a building housing Israeli soldiers had been shot at. It was said that there were victims among them.

Israel's ambassador asks the EU to “change course” towards Iran

Israel's ambassador to Germany, Ron Prosor, for his part called on the EU to “change course” in its policy towards Iran. Following the major Iranian attack on his country, Europe must “adopt a clear stance,” the ambassador told the “Rheinische Post.” “For example, by including the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. “The Revolutionary Guard sows terror and violence in the Middle East and beyond,” Prosor said. “It's Europe's turn. We have seen that it has not been possible to contain the dangers posed by Iran. “We need a change of direction.” Chancellor Olaf Scholz sees a possible solution to classify the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. There is already a verdict on the activity of this organization, said Scholz on Wednesday afternoon on the sidelines of the EU summit. This could be a starting point for including the Revolutionary Guard on the list. A legal review of the issue is currently underway in the EU.

The US House of Representatives will vote this weekend on aid to Israel.

Meanwhile, after months of blocking a major US aid package for Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific, a vote in the US House of Representatives is likely imminent. House Speaker Mike Johnson said he expected a vote on Saturday afternoon (local time). The powerful control committee published the legal texts on Wednesday, which will now be voted on. Some 26 billion dollars (24 billion euros) have been allocated to Israel. This includes $4 billion to boost the Iron Dome and David's Sling missile defense systems. If approved, it would be the turn of the Senate. The Democratic-led House is likely to support the plan.

Qatar wants to rethink its role as mediator in Gaza negotiations

Meanwhile, the Gulf emirate of Qatar wants to rethink its role as a mediator in the Gaza war between Israel and the Islamist Hamas. Qatar's role has been abused to some extent for political purposes, Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said on Wednesday in the capital Doha. He did not elaborate on who or what he was referring to specifically. “This has caused Qatar to completely re-evaluate its role and we are currently in this phase,” Al Thani said. Negotiations for a ceasefire and the release of more hostages who were kidnapped in the Gaza Strip during the attack by Islamist terrorists on Israel on October 7 of last year have been carried out for months with the mediation of Qatar, the United States. United States and Egypt. However, progress in the negotiations is currently not foreseeable.

For the first time, aid to Gaza passes through the port of Ashdod

Meanwhile, aid shipments to the Gaza Strip were handled there for the first time since the opening of Ashdod port in southern Israel. Eight transporters with flour were checked and then taken to the coastal area, the Israeli army and the Israeli Cogat authority, responsible for contacts with the Palestinians and humanitarian aid, reported on Wednesday night. However, World Food Program (WFP) trucks entered the closed coastal zone through the Kerem Shalom border crossing in the south, not through Erez in the northern Gaza Strip, which Israel also recently announced that would open. There was no word Wednesday on when that might happen. Kerem Shalom has long been used for aid delivery. According to experts, there is a risk of famine in some areas of the isolated Gaza Strip, especially in the north.

Failed to fetch data from the URL.