Israeli Defense Minister Says Direct Iranian Attack Would Require Appropriate Response

 An Israeli tank maneuvers next to the Israel-Gaza border, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from Israel, April 10, 2024. (Reuters)
An Israeli tank maneuvers next to the Israel-Gaza border, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from Israel, April 10, 2024. (Reuters)
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Israeli Defense Minister Says Direct Iranian Attack Would Require Appropriate Response

 An Israeli tank maneuvers next to the Israel-Gaza border, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from Israel, April 10, 2024. (Reuters)
An Israeli tank maneuvers next to the Israel-Gaza border, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from Israel, April 10, 2024. (Reuters)

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Thursday that Israel would respond directly to any attack by Iran.

“A direct Iranian attack will require an appropriate Israeli response against Iran," Gallant told US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, according to remarks issued by his office.

The Pentagon said the two discussed the United States' "iron-clad" commitment to Israel's security against threats from Iran and its proxies.

"Echoing President Biden's unequivocal message to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Secretary Austin assured Minister Gallant that Israel could count on full US support to defend Israel against Iranian attacks, which Tehran has publicly threatened," the Pentagon said.

It added that a visit by the top US general for the Middle East, Army General Michael "Erik" Kurilla, to Israel had been moved up so he could meet with Israeli military leadership and discuss "current security threats." Kurilla has been travelling to Israel regularly in recent months.



Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
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Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo

Sweden's domestic security agency on Thursday accused Iran of using established criminal networks in Sweden as a proxy to target Israeli or Jewish interests in the Scandinavian country.
The accusations were raised at a news conference by Daniel Stenling, the head of the SAPO agency's counterespionage unit, following a series of events earlier this year.
In late January, the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm was sealed off after what was then described as “a dangerous object” was found on the grounds of the diplomatic mission in an eastern Stockholm neighborhood. Swedish media said the object was a hand grenade.
The embassy was not evacuated and the object was eventually destroyed. No arrests were made and authorities did not say what was found. On May 17, gunshots were heard near the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm and the area was cordoned off. No one was arrested.
According to The Associated Press, Stenling said, without offering specifics or evidence to back up his assertion, that the agency "can establish that criminal networks in Sweden are used as a proxy by Iran.”
“It is very much about planning and attempts to carry out attacks against Israeli and Jewish interests, goals and activities in Sweden," he said and added that the agency sees "connections between criminal individuals in the criminal networks and individuals who are connected to the Iranian security services.”
Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer and Hampus Nygårds, deputy head of the Swedish police's National Operations Department, were also at the online news conference with Stenling.
“We see this connection between the Iranian intelligence services, the security services and precisely criminals in the criminal networks in Sweden," Stenling said. “We see that connection and it also means that we need to work much more internationally to get to the crimes and be able to prevent them.”
Stenling and the others made no mention of the recent incidents connected to the Israel Embassy and stopped short of naming any criminal groups or suspects.
Sweden has grappled with gang violence for years and criminal gangs often recruit teenagers in socially disadvantaged immigrant neighborhoods to carry out hits.
By May 15, police have recorded 85 shootings so far this year, including 12 fatal shootings. Last year, 53 people were killed and 109 were wounded in a total of 363 shootings.