UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Sunday evening over Iran’s retaliatory drone and missile attack on Israel, the 15-member body’s president has said. A spokesperson for Malta, which holds the rotating presidency this month, said Saturday evening that the Security Council was aiming for the meeting to be held at 4:00 p.m. (01 am Pakistan time Monday) after Israel requested the Council condemn Iran’s attack and designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization. Iran had vowed retaliation for an Israeli strike on its Damascus consulate on April 1 that killed seven officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including two senior commanders, and said its strike was a punishment for “Israeli crimes”. “Should the Israeli regime make another mistake, Iran’s response will be considerably more severe,” the Iranian Mission to the United Nations said, warning the U.S. to “stay away”. However, it also said Iran now “deemed the matter concluded”. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres slammed Iran’s attack, saying he was “deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation.” “I strongly condemn the serious escalation represented by the large-scale attack launched on Israel by the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said in a statement. “I am deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation. I urge all parties to exercise maximum restraint to avoid any action that could lead to major military confrontations on multiple fronts in the Middle East.” Iran launched a swarm of explosive drones and fired missiles at Israel late on Saturday in its first-ever direct attack on Israeli territory, risking a major regional escalation as the United States pledged “ironclad” backing for Israel. The Iranian strikes came as Tehran’s allies in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen have carried out a flurry of attacks on Israeli and Western targets since October 7 when Israel attack Gaza. Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, in a letter to the Security Council president, called Iran’s air action a “flagrant violation of Israel’s sovereignty.” “Today, Iran has launched a direct attack from within its territory of more than 200 (drones), cruise missiles and ballistic missiles towards Israel,” Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan wrote. “The attack is a severe and dangerous escalation,” he said. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone with President Joe Biden early Sunday, his office said, after wrapping up security cabinet and war cabinet meetings in Tel Aviv. The conversation lasted for around 25 minutes, according media reports. There was no immediate readout from the White House on the call, which was held after Biden convened a principals meeting of the National Security Council to discuss the attack. The US president returned to Washington earlier in the day after cutting short his weekend stay in Delaware. “Our commitment to Israel’s security against threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad,” Biden said on X after the National Security Council meeting. APP/ift


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