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UN urges restraint to avoid Mideast flare up

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel’s UN ambassador is calling on the UN Security Council and the secretary-general to immediately condemn Iran’s missile attack and demand that Tehran remove its military presence from Syria.
Danny Danon said in letters to the council and UN chief Antonio Guterres that “the international community must not stand idly by while a tyrannical regime attacks a sovereign nation and continues to threaten the very existence of a member-state of the United Nations.”
Danon said “Israel is not interested in escalation, but under no circumstances will we allow Iran to establish a military presence in Syria whose purpose is to attack Israel and to deteriorate an already fragile situation in the region.”

An Israeli tank drives in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, near the border with Syria on Thursday.   --Photo AP

The Security Council, which is deeply divided over Syria, is highly unlikely to issue a statement and no council member has asked for a meeting on the missile attacks against Israel and Syria. Secretary-General Guterres urged “an immediate halt to all hostile acts” to avoid “a new conflagration” in the Middle East.
The United Nations says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is urging “an immediate halt to all hostile acts” and provocative actions to avoid “a new conflagration” in the Middle East.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters the UN peacekeeping force on the Golan Heights has maintained contact with the Syrian and Israeli military, “urging both parties to exercise maximum restraint” and abide by the 1974 cease-fire agreement.
He said the secretary-general followed “with utmost concern” overnight reports of missile launches from Syria targeting Israeli positions and retaliatory strikes by Israel and is relieved at Thursday’s “partial normalization of the situation.”
Dujarric said Guterres is “very engaged” and has been in contact “with various people at various levels” about the attacks.
Israel’s prime minister says the strike on Iran’s military installations inside Syria sent a “clear message” to President Bashar Assad not to attack Israel.
Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday in a statement that “we are in a continuous campaign” and that “Israel’s military had carried out very extensive strike against Iranian targets” in Syria.
Netanyahu said Syrian batteries fired at Israeli forces “and therefore we struck them.”
He warned “whoever attacks us - we will attack them sevenfold and whoever prepares to attack us - we will act against them first.”
The prime minister issued the statement as Israel’s security cabinet was meeting, according to media reports.
Israel said the targets of the strikes, its largest in Syria since the 1973 war, included weapons storage, logistics sites and intelligence centres used by elite Iranian forces in Syria.

(Latest Update May 12, 2018)

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