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Netanyahu Says Israel Acting Against Iran, Will Defend Itself as Country Braces for Attack

Israeli military personnel drive an armored personnel carrier (APC) near the Israel-Gaza border, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, as seen from Israel, April 3, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Israel braced on Thursday for the possibility of a retaliatory attack after its suspected killing of Iranian generals in Damascus this week, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country would target “whoever harms us or plans to harm us.”

His comments came after Israel’s armed forces — stretched by nearly six months of war in the Gaza Strip and on the Lebanese front — announced they were suspending leave for all combat units, a day after they said they were mobilizing more troops for air defense units.

The possibility of Iran retaliating for Monday’s presumed Israeli air strike on Iran‘s embassy compound in Damascus has raised the specter of a wider war, though two Iranian sources said Tehran’s response would be calibrated to avoid escalation.

“For years, Iran has been acting against us both directly and via its proxies; therefore, Israel is acting against Iran and its proxies, defensively and offensively,” Netanyahu said at the start of a security cabinet meeting late on Thursday.

“We will know how to defend ourselves and we will act according to the simple principle of whoever harms us or plans to harm us, we will harm them,” he said.

The White House said US President Joe Biden spoke with Netanyahu and they discussed Iran‘s threats. Biden made clear that the United States strongly supports Israel in the face of that threat, Washington said.

Reuters journalists and residents of Israel’s commercial hub Tel Aviv said GPS services had been disrupted, an apparent measure to help ward off guided missiles.

Iran, Israel’s arch-enemy, has sworn revenge for the killing of two of its generals along with five military advisers in an air strike on an Iranian diplomatic compound in the Syrian capital on Monday.

Israel is believed to have carried out the strike, among the most significant yet on Iranian interests in Tehran’s close ally Syria. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement. Netanyahu made no mention of the attack.

Israel has been pressing its war on Hamas in Gaza since the Palestinian Islamist terrorists led a cross-border killing and kidnapping spree on Oct. 7, and has also been trading fire almost daily with Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels, which are aligned with Tehran, have launched occasional long-range rockets at Israel’s Eilat port.


Until now, Iran has avoided directly entering the fray, while supporting allies’ attacks on Israeli and US targets.

The Islamic Republic has several options. It could unleash its heavily armed proxies in Syria and Iraq on US forces, use Hezbollah to hit Israel directly, or ramp up its uranium enrichment program. That would raise concern among the United States and its allies about Tehran’s potential to make a nuclear bomb, which the West has long sought to curb.

But many diplomats and analysts say Iran‘s clerical elite does not want an all-out war with Israel or the US that might endanger its grip on power, and would prefer to keep using proxies to carry out selective tactical attacks on its foes.

Such proxy strikes on US forces in the region ceased in February after Washington retaliated for the killing of three US soldiers in Jordan with dozens of air strikes on targets in Syria and Iraq linked to Iran‘s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and militias it supports.

US officials said at midweek they had not yet picked up intelligence suggesting Iran-backed groups were looking to target US troops following Monday’s attack.

While mindful that Israeli strikes on regional adversaries can put US soldiers at risk of retaliation, US officials are sympathetic to Israel’s desire to restore deterrence after Oct. 7 and to stop flows of arms and fighters that may threaten it.

One US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was a growing concern Iran would make good on its threats to retaliate, raising the risk of volatile, regional escalation.

Iranian leaders have publicly indicated that Iran, which has deep-seated economic problems wrought in part by US sanctions and took months to put down recent popular unrest, does not want a big war that could destabilize the country.

Amos Yadlin, a former Israeli intelligence chief, said Iran might choose Friday — the last in the Holy Muslim month of Ramadan and Iranian Quds (Jerusalem) Day — to respond to the Damascus strike, either directly or through a proxy.

“I will not be surprised if Iran will act tomorrow. Don’t panic. Don’t run to the shelters,” said Yadlin, now at the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center at Harvard University, citing Israel’s aerial defense systems.

“Be tuned for tomorrow and then, depending on the consequences of the attack, it may escalate.”

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OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse

Samantha Kline, 22, presented photos of antisemitic graffiti she says targeted her.

The post OCAD University student is seeking $1M in damages—alleging a lack of protection from threats and abuse appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Palestinian Islamic Jihad Releases New Propaganda Video of Israeli Hostage

Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov as seen in a propaganda video released by Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Photo: Screenshot

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group on Tuesday released a short propaganda video featuring Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov, 28, who was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists during Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.

The 30-second undated video shows Trufanov, an Amazon employee, identifying himself and saying that he will soon discuss what has happened to him and other hostages in Gaza.

Similar videos have been released by terrorists groups in Gaza. Israel has lambasted them as psychological warfare.

Trufanov’s mother said in a video released by the family that she was happy to see her son after all this time, but “it was heartbreaking” that he had been a hostage for so long.

Trufanov was an engineer at the Israeli microelectronics company Annapurna Labs, which Amazon owns.

Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists abducted over 250 people during their Oct. 7 onslaught. Trufanov was kidnapped alongside his mother, grandmother, and girlfriend.

All three were released as part of a temporary ceasefire agreement negotiated in November. His father, Vitaly Trufanov, was one of the 1,200 people killed during the Hamas massacre.

“The proof of life from Alexsander (Sasha) Trufanov is additional evidence that the Israeli government must give a significant mandate to the negotiating team,” the Hostages Families Forum, which represents the families of the hostages, said in a statement.

More than 120 hostages remain in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas. Islamic Jihad is a separate but allied terrorist organization in the Palestinian enclave. Both are backed by Iran, which provides them with money, weapons, and training.

Negotiations brokered by Qatar, Egypt, and the US to reach a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza have been stalled for weeks.

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Gal Gadot’s Action Movie Nabs Second Place on Netflix List of Most Watched Films in Second Half of 2023

Gal Gadot as Rachel Stone in a scene from the trailer for “Heart of Stone.” Photo: YouTube screenshot

Netflix released its engagement report that details the films with the most views from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2023, and Israeli actress Gal Gadot’s action thriller Heart of Stone secured the number two spot with 109.6 million views.

The film — starring Gadot alongside Jamie Dornan and Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt in leading roles — was the runner-up to Leave the World Behind, the drama starring Julia Roberts, Mahershala Ali, and Ethan Hawke that garnered 121 million views on Netflix.

Heart of Stone, directed by Tom Harper, was released on the streaming giant on Aug. 11 of last year. The action film is about international intelligence operative Rachel Stone, played by Gadot, who goes on a mission to protect an artificial intelligence system, known as The Heart, from falling in the wrong hands. The film was produced by Pilot Wave, a company founded by Gadot and her husband Jaron Varsano.

Gadot also stars in Netflix’s most popular film of all time, Red Notice, alongside Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds.

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