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Blinken says US 'not involved in any offensive operation'

The United States was "not involved in any offensive operation", U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday following reports that Israel had carried out revenge strikes on Iran.

"I'm not going to speak to these reported events... All I can say is for our part and for all the members of the G7 our focus is on de-escalation", Blinken told a press conference on the Italian island of Capri.

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Russia: We told Israel 'Iran does not want escalation'

Russia has made clear to Israel that Iran "does not want escalation", Moscow's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday, 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," Lavrov said in an interview with Russian radio stations.

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International reactions after Israel's reported attack on Iran

International reactions Friday after Israel's reported attack on the Iranian province of Isfahan, where it has military bases and nuclear facilities:

- China -

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Will Qatar pull out as Israel-Hamas mediator?

Qatar's warning that it was reassessing its role as a mediator between Israel and Hamas has raised concerns about the prospects for a ceasefire and the return of hostages.

Since Hamas's deadly October 7 attack on Israel sparked devastating retaliation against Gaza, Qatar has been an important conduit to the Palestinian militant group, whose political office is in Doha.

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US veto sinks Palestinian UN membership bid in Security Council

The United States has vetoed a widely backed U.N. resolution that would have paved the way for full United Nations membership for Palestine, a goal the Palestinians have long sought and Israel has worked to prevent.

The vote in the 15-member Security Council was 12 in favor, the United States opposed and two abstentions, from the United Kingdom and Switzerland. U.S. allies France, Japan and South Korea supported the resolution.

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Israel hits military position in Syria's south

Israeli strikes on Friday targeted a Syrian army position in the country's south, a war monitor said, as U.S. media reported Israel had carried out hits on its arch-rival Iran.

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the strikes, which he attributed to Israel, "targeted a radar installation of the Syrian army" between the provinces of Sweida and Daraa provinces.

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Iran warns Israel against attacking nuclear sites

A senior Revolutionary Guards general threatened on Thursday to target Israel's "nuclear facilities" if it strikes Iranian atomic sites, state media reported, anticipating retaliation for Tehran's unprecedented weekend attack.

Israel's military chief has vowed a response to the Iranian aerial attack, which was mostly intercepted, while world leaders have urged de-escalation.

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Beach offers rare respite for war-weary Gazans

Hundreds of Gazans found rare respite at the beach this week from more than six months of traumatizing Israeli bombardments in the Palestinian territory.

After temperatures suddenly soared, children paddled in the sea and their friends played ball games on the sand around Deir el-Balah in the center of the coastal strip -- but the war was never far away.

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Qatar says it's rethinking its mediator role

Qatar’s prime minister has said that the country is reevaluating its role as a mediator between Israel and Hamas.

Qatar has been a key intermediary throughout the war in Gaza. It, along with the U.S. and Egypt, was instrumental in helping negotiate a brief halt to the fighting in November that led to the release of dozens of hostages.

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UNRWA head says Israel trying to end agency's operations in Gaza

The head of the U.N. agency helping Palestinian refugees is accusing Israel of trying to end its operations in Gaza and the West Bank.

Philippe Lazzarini is urging the U.N. Security Council to safeguard his agency's critical role as the relief agency for Palestinians.

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