US warns of ‘real’ imminent threat against Israel

Iran has vowed revenge after suspected Israeli warplanes bombed Iran's embassy in Damascus.

Iran has vowed revenge after suspected Israeli warplanes bombed Iran's embassy in Damascus. Photo: Getty

The White House has warned that an Iranian revenge attack on Israel is “credible” and may be imminent, amid fears of a widening conflict in the Middle East.

Iran has vowed to avenge the bombing of an Iranian embassy in Syria on April 1 which killed a top general and six other military officers, and has blamed Israel.

US officials said an attack on Israel was “viable” and “real” and could happen as soon as Saturday morning (AEDT).

The barrage could include more than 100 Iranian drones and dozens of missiles, targeting Israeli military assets.

“I can’t speak to the size, scale, scope of what that attack might look like,” said US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.

“We are in constant communication with our Israeli counterparts about making sure that they can defend themselves against those kinds of attacks”.

US President Joe Biden said he expected the retaliation to occur “sooner, rather than later”.

Biden said his own warning to Tehran would be: “Don’t”.

Meanwhile Australia earlier urged Iran not to escalate tensions in the Middle East after Tehran’s supreme leader threatened to retaliate against Israel.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Israel’s strike tantamount to an attack on Iranian soil and said Israel “must be punished, and it shall be”.

Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong said on Friday she had spoken with Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and urged his nation to “use its influence in the region to promote stability, not contribute to escalation”.

“Australia is deeply concerned by indications Iran is preparing military action against Israel,” she said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

“Further conflict will only add to the devastation in the Middle East.”

Wong also called on Iran to push Hamas towards an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and a hostage release.

In response to the growing tensions in the region, the government’s Smartraveller website has urged Australians to reconsider their need to travel to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, with updated warnings citing the potential for airspace closures, flight cancellations and diversions.

Shot fired at Australian aid workers

As tensions escalate in the region, Australian aid workers revealed a shot was fired at an aid convoy during a co-ordinated mission to deliver supplies to northern Gaza.

Unicef spokeswoman Tess Ingram was on a mission on Tuesday when the UN-marked, armoured Toyota LandCruiser she was in was shot, she told ABC News on Friday.

“If we hadn’t been in an armoured vehicle that would have shattered the window and things could have been a lot worse,” she said.

Ingram said the Israel Defence Force and Hamas were aware of the convoy’s movements as part of the mission, but she did not see the source of the gunfire.

“It appeared to come from the direction of the checkpoint towards civilians who then turned and ran in the other direction,” she said.

The shooting showed issues surrounding aid co-ordination have not been resolved since Australian aid worker Zomi Frankcom was killed when Israeli drones struck a World Central Kitchen convoy earlier in April, Ingram said.

She remains determined to go back.

“I’ll be a bit more nervous … we know that it’s dangerous here in Gaza, but we’ve just got to keep trying,” she said.

In early-April, Australian aid worker Zomi Frankcom and six of her colleagues were killed by an Israeli air strike.

Her death highlighted the Israeli military’s treatment of aid workers, who are trying to help the 1.1 million Palestinians in Gaza facing catastrophic levels of food insecurity as a result of Israel’s siege.

The Australian government has called on the Israeli government to accept full responsibility for Frankcom’s death.

Former defence force chief Mark Binskin has been appointed by the federal government as a special adviser to Australia on Israel’s investigation of the incident.

On October 7, Hamas – designated a terrorist group by the Australian government – launched an attack on Israel that killed 1200 people and led another 200 to be taken hostage.

In the months since, Israel has launched a ground offensive and bombing campaign on Gaza that has killed more than 33,000 people and displaced another 1.7 million, according to the local health ministry.

Though many countries have attempted to send aid into the region, the deteriorating humanitarian situation has made it difficult to reach those who need it and Israeli authorities have continued to block resources, Oxfam says.

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification projects about 1.1 million people are facing catastrophic levels of food insecurity in Gaza.

Conflict has spread across the Middle East as various groups and nations back Gaza, with Iran-backed Houthi forces blocking critical commercial shipping lanes in the Red Sea in support of Palestine.
With Reuters

Protests loom in Australia

Protesters are set to take to the streets in support of Palestine after a fraught week in Australian politics.

Rallies are scheduled for Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra on Saturday as concerns grow over the plight of civilians in Gaza.

The federal government has indicated support for Palestinian statehood with Foreign Minister Penny Wong saying the world needed to look beyond the immediate conflict and create a pathway to peace.

Her comments at a security conference were described by Opposition Leader Peter Dutton as the “most reckless act of a foreign minister I have seen in my 22 years in the parliament.”

Since the October 7 attack by Hamas which killed 1200 Israelis and led another 200 to be taken hostage, Israel has launched a ground invasion and bombing campaign that has killed more than 33,000 people in Gaza and displaced 1.7 million according to local health authorities.

with AAP

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