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Israel boosts defences after Iran consulate strike

Israel says won't send delegation to US that Biden requested
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Israel’s military said it was strengthening its defences Thursday after a deadly air strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus drew threats of retaliation.

The army paused leave for combat units, blocked GPS signals in certain places and strengthened “alertness” as its war against Hamas in Gaza nears its seventh month.

“The (army) is at war and the issue of the deployment of forces is constantly reviewed according to need,” the military said in announcing the leave suspension.

The army also said that, after an assessment, officials decided to increase manpower and draft reserve soldiers to operate air defences.

Armed forces spokesman Daniel Hagari confirmed the jamming of GPS signals, which is intended to defend against guided weapons like missiles or drones.

“We strengthened the alertness of combat units, where needed,” Rear Admiral Hagari said.

“We have reinforced the defence systems and we have aircraft prepared for defence and ready to attack in a variety of scenarios.”

As Israel has fought in Gaza since the Hamas attack of October 7, it has also stepped up strikes against Iranian personnel and allies in Syria and Lebanon.

Israel has traded near-daily cross-border fire with Iran-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollahk.

Tensions have been inflamed by Monday’s strike against the Iranian consulate in Damascus which killed 16 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Among the dead were seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards, two of them generals.

The Britain-based Observatory said the dead also included five Syrian fighters and one from Hezbollah.

Israel has declined to comment on the strike but analysts saw it as an escalation of Israel’s campaign against Iran’s regional proxies that runs the risk of triggering a wider war.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed in a social media message that “with God’s help we will make the Zionists repent of their crime of aggression against the Iranian consulate in Damascus”.

The Gaza war began with Hamas’s October 7 attack, which resulted in some 1,170 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Palestinian militants also took more than 250 hostages, and 130 remain in Gaza, including 34 the army says are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory campaign has killed at least 33,037 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.


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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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