Middle East latest: Failed attack was ‘double defeat’ for Iran, says Cameron – as UN warns of ‘devastating conflict’ | World news

The big picture: What you need to know about the Middle East crisis as you enter a new week

Iran is attacking Israel

On Saturday night, Iran launched a massive airstrike on Israel in what it said was a retaliatory attack on its embassy in Syria earlier this month.

More than 330 aircraft and rockets were fired at Israel, with the Israel Defense Forces claiming to have shot down 99% of them.

One young girl was injured, and the damage was limited to the Israeli air base – which is not believed to be serious.

RAF planes and US planes were involved in the defense of Israel, intercepting the planes before they entered the country.

The attack has marked a major escalation in the Middle East, and Israel’s war cabinet is said to agree that a response is needed – although members remain divided on its scope and timing.

This comes after Iran’s Revolutionary Guard commandos hijacked a cargo ship bound for Israel in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday morning.

Pushed from the helicopter, they boarded the MSC Aries and took the ship – along with 25 crew members – to Iran.

Israel said Iran would “suffer the consequences” for its actions and called for sanctions on its allies and a ban on Guard terrorists.

Iran is targeting Israel in retaliation for an April 1 airstrike that killed Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, the top commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps’ overseas Quds Force, and six other officers as they attended a meeting at the Damascus embassy.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog told Sky News that the current situation was “like a war” that Iran had effectively declared.

Negotiations on a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip

As the conflict between Israel and Hamas escalates and hopes for a ceasefire in Gaza began last week, talks have resumed in Cairo, with Israeli government sources telling Sky News that Benjamin Netanyahu was “desperate” for a deal.

Hamas confirmed over the weekend that it had rejected Israel’s proposal – the fifth time it has done so since the last ceasefire agreement collapsed late last year.

“We reaffirm our demands and the national demands of our people; With a permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of the occupying army from the entire Gaza Strip, the return of the IDPs to their districts and places of residence, activation. About aid and assistance coming in and reconstruction starting,” Hamas said.

Another backdrop to all of this was Israel’s withdrawal of all but one brigade from southern Gaza – further giving hope until it was made clear that it was preparing for future operations.

Yesterday, however, the IDF announced it was calling up two more reserve divisions for “operational missions in the Gaza Strip.”

We also learned that a date has been set for the next operation in Rafah – which currently protects 1.4 million Gazans. The international community has warned Israel that a ground operation there could have devastating consequences – but Israel believes the attack is necessary to eliminate the threat posed by Hamas.

Interestingly, senior Biden administration officials told CNN that Mr. Netanyahu’s announcement that the date for the Rafah attack had been set was a fluke.

More than 33,000 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Hamas-led government.

Israel’s military strategy is ‘not coherent’

Israel’s military strategy in Gaza is currently “barely coherent.” Military analyst Professor Michael Clarke said Tuesday.

The Israelis are leaving too much to chance now that they have one brigade, sometimes north of Yunis, and none at Rafah, where they say they will attack at some point. And this, they estimate, will take. Four to six weeks.

“So to be honest, the strategy at the moment hardly seems coherent from a military point of view.”

Watch Clark’s analysis…

Corners of Great Britain

Rishi Sunak last week defended Britain’s decision not to freeze arms sales to Israel, saying “none of our closest allies” had done so.

The British prime minister said the UK had a “long-established process” regarding the arms export regime and “we regularly review these issues”.

“This has not resulted in any change. In fact, none of our closest allies have suspended existing arms licenses, so we continue to discuss these issues with our allies,” he said.

Meanwhile, Britain took part in the biggest airlift of aid to Gaza last week. Led by the Jordanian Armed Forces, a total of nine countries and 14 aircraft participated in the operation, delivering essential food, water and other supplies to civilians.

How the Gaza conflict could worsen Yemen’s humanitarian crisis

In this edition of Sky News Daily, Niall Patterson is joined by Alex and Yemeni-born producer Ahmed Baider to investigate how Houthi attacks on shipping lines in the Red Sea, ostensibly in support of Gaza, are preventing aid from entering Yemen.

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