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‘Israeli embassies are not safe after deadly Damascus strike’

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Jerusalem, April 7: A top Iranian military adviser on Sunday warned Israel that none of its embassies were safe following last week’s strike in Damascus blamed on Israel that killed two elite Iranian generals.
Regional tensions threaten to draw the Middle East into a wider conflict as Israel’s war against Hamas marks six months.
The remarks by Gen. Rahim Safavi, a military adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, signalled that the attack on a diplomatic mission could be met with a similar response. Israel has not directly acknowledged its involvement.
“None of the embassies of the (Israeli) regime are safe anymore,” Safavi was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim agency. He spoke at a ceremony in Tehran for the generals killed in the strike that flattened an Iranian consular building.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was prepared for any response. “Whoever harms us or plans to harm us, we will harm them,” he told a Cabinet meeting.
The regional tensions came at the six-month mark of the war, which was sparked when Hamas-led militants crossed from Gaza into Israel, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking about 250 captive. Israel retaliated with a fierce bombardment and ground offensive that has killed more than 33,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, according to local health authorities.
Also Sunday, Israel’s military announced it was drawing back forces from the 98th paratroopers division who had been operating in the area of Khan Younis in southern Gaza, bringing Israeli troop levels in Gaza to some of the lowest levels since the war began. The Hamas stronghold has been the main focus of Israel’s offensive in recent months.
The forces withdrew to recuperate and prepare for future operations, while a significant number remain elsewhere in Gaza, said Israeli military officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorised to speak to the media.
Israel maintains troops in devastated northern Gaza and can send them south when needed.
The prospect of an offensive has raised global alarm, including from top ally the US, which has demanded to see a credible plan to protect civilians. (AP)

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