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Cyprus

Snap National Security Council meeting called as Iran launches drones at Israel

ΠτΔ – Συμβούλιο Εθνικής Ασφάλειας
Image from Friday's session of the National Security Council meeting.

The National Security Council will be holding a snap meeting on Sunday morning, “in light of regional developments” government sources told the Cyprus Mail on Saturday.

The announcement comes as the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said Iran launched drones at Israel. Earlier in the day,  Iran’s  Revolutionary Guard Corps in the strait of Hormuz, seized an Israeli-affiliated container ship.

Cyprus’ National Security Council meeting will begin at 9:30am at the presidential palace on Sunday.

President Nikos Christodoulides had chaired another National Security Council meeting over the Middle East on Friday amid growing concerns. 

Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos said he is concerned about a possible Iranian attack on Israel and the consequences it would have for Cyprus.

He stressed that Cyprus is preparing for possible eventualities and that everything should be done with great speed, as diplomatic and political time has been squeezed.

Late on Saturday, Reuters reported that Iran launched dozens of drones at Israel but they will take hours to reach their targets, Israel’s military said.

Iran has vowed retaliation for what it called an Israeli strike on its Damascus consulate on April 1 that killed seven Revolutionary Guards officers including two senior commanders. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the attack.

Iran‘s Revolutionary Guards also said on Saturday it has launched dozens of drones and missiles against specific targets in Israel, Iranian state media quoted a statement by the elite force as saying.

U.S. President Joe Biden, who on Friday warned Iran against attacking Israel after saying such a scenario appeared imminent, has pledged to stand with Israel against Iran, the White House said.

A retired Israeli general, Amos Yadlin, told the country’s Channel 12 news that the Iranian drones were equipped with 20 kg (44 pounds) of explosives each.

Israel’s military said sirens would sound in any threatened areas and that its defences were poised to deal with them.

Israel and neighbouring Jordan, which lies between Iraq and Israel, said they were closing their airspace on Saturday night.

The Gaza war between Israel and Hamas, now in its seventh month, has driven up tensions in the region, spreading to fronts with Lebanon and Syria and drawing long-range fire at Israeli targets from as far away as Yemen and Iraq.

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