Iran-Israel Crisis updates | Global calls for calm after reported Israeli strike on Iran

G7 foreign ministers’ communique warns of new sanctions on Iran, urges de-escalation

April 19, 2024 10:49 am | Updated 07:36 pm IST

An anti-Israel billboard with a picture of Iranian missiles is seen on a street in Tehran, Iran on April 19, 2024.

An anti-Israel billboard with a picture of Iranian missiles is seen on a street in Tehran, Iran on April 19, 2024. | Photo Credit: Reuters

World leaders appealed for calm on April 19 after reported Israeli retaliation against Iran added to months of tense spillover from the war in Gaza, with Iranian state media reporting explosions in a central province.

Iran fired air defenses at a major air base and a nuclear site near the central city of Isfahan after spotting drones early on April 19 morning, raising fears of a possible Israeli strike in retaliation for Tehran’s unprecedented drone-and-missile assault on the country.

Also read: In Israel’s north, a slow-burning war is raging with Hezbollah

It remained unclear if the country was under attack, as no Iranian official directly acknowledged the possibility and Israel’s military did not respond to a request for comment. However, tensions have remained high in the days since the Saturday assault on Israel amid its war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip and its own strikes targeting Iran in Syria. 

U.S. officials declined to comment as of early Friday, but American broadcast networks quoting unnamed U.S. officials said Israel carried out the attack. The New York Times quoted anonymous Israeli officials claiming the assault.

Here are the latest updates:
  • April 19, 2024 19:33
    U.N. chief says Mideast ‘cycle of retaliation’ must stop

    U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called for an end to “the dangerous cycle of retaliation” in the Middle East following reports of Israeli strikes against Iran.

    The U.N. chief condemned “any act of retaliation” and called on the international community to prevent “any further development that could lead to devastating consequences for the entire region and beyond,” his spokesman said in a statement.

    - AFP

  • April 19, 2024 19:31
    Iran blasts rattle global markets

    Reports Israel had carried out retaliatory strikes against Iran rattled markets on Friday, with oil prices briefly surging and equities slumping.

    “Asian markets bore the brunt of the breaking news of a retaliatory attack on Iran by Israel, also sending Dow futures sharply lower and resulting in further spikes in gold and oil prices,” noted Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.

    Crude oil prices dropped, having briefly surged as much as four percent on worries about supplies from the oil-rich region.

    The rush for safety also saw the yen rally against the dollar and gold jump back past $2,400 per ounce, while the Swiss franc and US government bonds won support.

    - AFP

  • April 19, 2024 18:44
    Shipping industry urges UN to protect vessels after Iran seizure

    Merchant ships and seafarers are increasingly in peril at sea as attacks escalate in the Middle East and the United Nations must do more to protect supply chains, the industry said in a letter released.

    In a letter sent on Thursday to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the world’s leading shipping industry associations said Iran’s seizure on April 13 of the MSC Aries container ship 50 nautical miles off the United Arab Emirates coast “once again highlighted the intolerable situation where shipping has become a target”.

    “Innocent seafarers have been killed, seafarers are being held hostage,” the letter said.

    “The world would be outraged if four airliners were seized and held hostage with innocent souls onboard. Regrettably, there does not seem to be the same response or concern (for ships an their crew members).”

    - Reuters

  • April 19, 2024 18:21
    Israel gave US last-minute warning about drone attack on Iran, Italian foreign minister says at G7

    The United States told the Group of Seven foreign ministers on Friday that it received “last minute” information from Israel about a drone action in Iran, but didn’t participate in the apparent attack, officials said.

    Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, who chaired the meeting of ministers of industrialized countries, said the United States provided the information at a Friday morning session that was changed at the last minute to address the suspected attack.

    Early on Friday, Iran fired air defenses at a major air base and a nuclear site near the central Iranian city of Isfahan after spotting drones. It was part of an apparent Israeli attack in retaliation for Tehran’s unprecedented drone-and-missile assault on the country last weekend.

    - AP

  • April 19, 2024 17:04
    Air India suspends Tel Aviv flights till April 30

    Air India on Friday said its flights to and from Tel Aviv will remain suspended till April 30 amid tensions in the Middle East.

    The airline operates four weekly flights between the national capital and the Israeli city.

    “Air India flights to and from Tel Aviv will remain suspended until 30th April 2024, in view of the emerging situation in the Middle East. We are continuously monitoring the situation,” an airline spokesperson said in a statement.

    - PTI

  • April 19, 2024 16:28
    We told Israel ‘Iran does not want escalation’: Russia

    Russia has made clear to Israel that Iran “does not want escalation”, Moscow’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said, after reports Israel had carried out retaliatory strikes against its arch-rival.

    “There have been telephone contacts between the leadership of Russia and Iran, our representatives and the Israelis. We made it very clear in these conversations, we told the Israelis that Iran does not want escalation,” Mr. Lavrov said in an interview with Russian radio stations.

    - AFP

  • April 19, 2024 16:20
    G7 foreign ministers’ communique warns of new sanctions on Iran, urges de-escalation

    Group of Seven foreign ministers warned of new sanctions against Iran on Friday for its drone and missile attack on Israel, and urged both sides to avoid an escalation of the conflict.

    Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, who chaired the meeting of ministers of industrialised countries, said the agenda of the three-day meeting was changed on Friday to address the latest developments. - AP

  • April 19, 2024 15:53
    G7 foreign ministers work to prevent escalation between Israel and Iran

    Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven major powers said they would continue to work to prevent the conflict between Israel and Iran escalating, after reports of an Israeli attack on Iran.

    “In light of reports of strikes on April 19th, we urge all parties to work to prevent further escalation. The G7 will continue to work to this end,” said a statement issued by the ministers at the end of a three-day summit on the island of Capri.

    - Reuters

  • April 19, 2024 15:48
    Germany urges ‘de-escalation’

    Germany pleaded for restraint after reports that Israel carried out a strike on Iran.

    “De-escalation must be the advice of the hour,” said government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit, adding: “We must prevent a conflagration at all costs, and this appeal goes to all sides”.

    - AFP

  • April 19, 2024 15:47
    Kremlin urges restraint

    The Kremlin said it was looking into reports Israel carried out a strike on Iran and urged all sides to exercise “restraint” to prevent further escalation.

    “We continue to favour restraint on the sides and to refrain from any action that could provoke further escalation in such a sensitive region,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

    - AFP

  • April 19, 2024 15:46
    China to play ‘constructive role’ to ease tensions after reported strike on Iran

    China said that it will “continue to play a constructive role to de-escalate” tensions in the Middle East after Iranian media reported explosions heard near the city of Isfahan and U.S. media quoted officials saying Israel had carried out retaliatory strikes on its arch-rival.

    “China opposes any actions that further escalate tensions and will continue to play a constructive role to de-escalate the situation,” foreign ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said.

    - AFP

  • April 19, 2024 15:44
    Chinese embassy in Iran urges citizens to ‘take precautions over security risks’

    China’s embassy in Iran warned its citizens in the country to “take precautions over security risks”, after Iranian media reported explosions heard near the city of Isfahan and U.S. media quoted officials saying Israel had carried out retaliatory strikes on its arch-rival.

    “(We) remind Chinese citizens and companies in Iran to take precautions over security risks, pay close attention to the development of the situation and ensure personal safety,” the embassy said in a statement on social media.

    - AFP

  • April 19, 2024 14:42
    Israel minister slammed for implying Israel behind Iran blasts

    Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir came under severe criticism for harming Israel’s strategy against Iran after he suggested Israel was behind blasts that rocked Iran on Friday.

    Iran’s state media reported that there were explosions in the Central province of Isfahan, while a section of U.S. media quoting American officials reported Israel had carried out retaliatory strikes on its arch foe Iran. - AFP

  • April 19, 2024 13:28
    EU Commission President calls on Israel, Iran to refrain from escalation

    European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called on Iran, Israel and their allies to refrain from escalation in the Middle East, after sources said Israel carried out an attack on Iranian soil on Friday.

    “It is absolutely necessary that the region remains stable and that all sides restrain from further action,” von der Leyen said alongside Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo in Lappeenranta, Finland, about 25 km from the Russian border. - Reuters

  • April 19, 2024 13:11
    Italy urges ‘de-escalation’ as G7 to discuss reported strike on Iran

    Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani called Friday for an “absolute de-escalation” following reports that Israel carried out a strike on Iran, saying G7 counterparts would discuss it at talks in Capri.

    “We invite everyone to be cautious to avoid an escalation,” he told RAI news from the Italian island, where Rome is hosting a meeting between foreign ministers of the Group of Seven nations. - AFP

  • April 19, 2024 13:08
    China says opposes actions that ‘escalate tensions’

    China said Friday that it opposed any actions that “further escalate tensions”, after Iranian media reported explosions heard near the city of Isfahan.

    “China has noted the relevant reports and opposes any actions that further escalate tensions,” foreign ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said, when asked about the reports - .AFP

  • April 19, 2024 12:53
    France calls for de-escalation

    France is calling for de-escalation in the Middle-East crisis, Deputy French Foreign Minister Jean-Noel Barrot said on Friday, responding to reports that Israel launched an air attack on Iranian soil earlier that day.

    “All I can say is that France’s position is to call on all actors for de-escalation and restraint,” Barrot told Sud Radio. - Reuters

  • April 19, 2024 12:36
    No plan for immediate retaliation against Israel, senior Iranian official says

    Iran has no plan for immediate retaliation against Israel, a senior Iranian official told Reuters on Friday, hours after sources said Israel launched an attack on Iranian soil.

    “The foreign source of the incident has not been confirmed. We have not received any external attack, and the discussion leans more towards infiltration than attack,” the Iranian official said on condition of anonymity.- Reuters

  • April 19, 2024 12:35
    Oman condemns reported Israeli attack on Iran

    Oman, which has acted as a mediator in the Middle East, condemned on Friday the Israeli attack on Iranian soil, as well as “the repeated Israeli military attacks in the region”, said a foreign ministry statement. - Reuters

  • April 19, 2024 12:03
    U.K. Minister hopes de-escalation still possible

    Britain’s Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said he hoped that de-escalation between Israel and Iran was still possible, responding to reports Israel had launched an attack on Iranian soil on Friday.

    “Whilst we don’t know the details at the moment, my hope is that whatever has happened is of a nature where de-escalation can now be the way forward,” Stride told GB News on Friday. - Reuters

  • April 19, 2024 11:48
    Watch | Why is the Israel-Iran shadow war escalating?

    Watch | Why is the Israel- Iran shadow war escalating?

    Stanly Johny, The Hindu’s international affairs editor, explains why the Israel-Iran shadow war is now escalating

  • April 19, 2024 11:38
    Retaliation without escalation: Netanyahu’s tough choice

    Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving Prime Minister, built his political career promising security to Israel. He claimed in the past that only he could stand up to the Iranian threat. Yet, the worst attack in Israel’s history, as well as a massive missile and drone strike by Iran breaching its borders took place on his watch. After the October 7 Hamas attack, Mr. Netanyahu vowed to crush Hamas and went for an all-out war on Gaza. Six months later, the war remains unfinished. And after the April 14 attack by Iran, his government as well as the military have promised a forceful response, but the Prime Minister does not have any easy choices before him. Read more

  • April 19, 2024 11:29
    IAEA confirms no damage made to Iran’s nuclear sites in Israel’s attack

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed on Friday there was no damage to Iran’s nuclear sites in an alleged attack by Israel on Iran.

    The agency continues to monitor the situation very closely and calls for extreme restraint from all sides, stressing that nuclear facilities should never be a target in military conflicts, it said in an X post. - AFP

  • April 19, 2024 11:19
    US embassy in Israel tells employees, families to limit movements

    The United States embassy in Israel on Friday told its employees and their families to restrict their movements after reports that Israel conducted strike inside Iran.

    “Out of an abundance of caution following reports that Israel conducted a retaliatory strike inside Iran, US government employees and their family members are restricted from personal travel outside the greater Tel Aviv (including Herzliya, Netanya, and Even Yehuda), Jerusalem, and Beersheva areas until further notice,” a security advisory issued by the mission on its website said. - AFP

  • April 19, 2024 11:06
    Middle East tensions

    TOPSHOT - An Israeli flag flies on the Mount of Olives overlooking the Al Aqsa mosque compound and the city skyline in Jerusalem on April 19, 2024. US media quoted officials saying Israel had carried out retaliatory strikes on its arch-rival Iran, while Iran's state media reported explosions in the central province of Isfahan on April 19. (Photo by Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)

  • April 19, 2024 11:03
    Reports of Israeli attack on Iran spark rush to yen, Swiss franc

    A wave of risk aversion swept over markets on Friday and sent investors chasing after traditional safety assets such as the Swiss franc and the yen following reports that Israel attacked Iran in an escalation of conflict in the Middle East. 

    Markets initially reacted sharply to the news, which sparked a huge selloff in risk assets, caused oil and gold prices to surge, and ignited a rally in U.S. Treasuries and safe-haven currencies.Some of those moves were later retraced as few details emerged about the attack and an Iranian official told Reuters no missile attack took place. 

    Still, the Swiss franc, a traditional safe-haven currency, remained 0.35% higher on the day at 0.9089 per dollar, having rallied 1% earlier in the session. Moves in the Swissie were more pronounced against the euro, with the common currency last 0.4% lower at 0.96685 francs, after sliding as much as 1.5% earlier. 

    The yen rose roughly 0.2% to 154.38 per dollar, after having rallied more than 0.6% in a knee-jerk reaction to reports of the attack.”It’s pretty obvious the market is nervous,” said Moh Siong Sim, a currency strategist at Bank of Singapore.”I think markets are at this stage in a flight-to-safety mode ... Right now, we’re still in a situation where we know something has happened. But we need to understand the degree of retaliation,” Sim said.- Reuters

  • April 19, 2024 10:54
    Tehran airports resume flights: state media

    Tehran’s two major airports resumed flights on Friday, state media reported, following a brief suspension after explosions were heard in central Iran.

    “Flights through Imam Khomeini and Mehrabad airports have resumed,” the official IRNA news agency reported.- AFP

  • April 19, 2024 10:48
    Airlines scramble to change routes after Israeli attack on Iran

    Airlines quickly changed flight paths over Iran, diverted to alternate airports or returned planes to their departure points on Friday in response to airspace and airport closures after an Israeli attack on Iran, flight tracking data showed.

    Iran closed its airports in Tehran, Shiraz and Isfahan after the attack and cleared flights from the western portion of its airspace for a few hours after the attack, according to flight tracking website FlightRadar24. - Reuters

  • April 19, 2024 10:42
    United States had advance warning of Israel attack on Iran: U.S. media

    The United States received advance notice of Israel’s reported strike on Iran but did not endorse the operation or play any part in its execution, U.S. media quoted officials as saying.

    NBC and CNN, citing sources familiar with the matter and a U.S. official, respectively, said Israel had provided Washington with pre-notification of the strike.

    Various networks cited officials confirming a strike had taken place inside Iran, with CNN quoting one official as stating the target was not a nuclear facility.

  • April 19, 2024 10:33
    Iran fires air defense batteries after explosions reported in Isfahan

    Iran fired air defenses at a major air base and a nuclear site near the central city of Isfahan after spotting drones early Friday morning, raising fears of a possible Israeli strike in retaliation for Tehran’s unprecedented drone-and-missile assault on the country.

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