G7 countries to convene to discuss Iran’s attack on Israel

G7 countries to convene to discuss Iran's attack on Israel
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers remarks on recent developments in Israel in Ottawa on Saturday, April 13, 2024. U.S. President Joe Biden said he would convene the meeting of the Group of Seven advanced democracies to co-ordinate a united diplomatic response to an attack he described as brazen.

Canada and other G7 countries were expected to hold a meeting Sunday to discuss a potential response to Iran’s overnight attack on Israel.

U.S. President Joe Biden said he would convene the meeting of the Group of Seven advanced democracies to co-ordinate a united diplomatic response to an attack he described as brazen.

Iran launched around 300 missiles and drones at targets inside Israel, but Israeli officials say the country and its allies were able to intercept about 99 per cent of them, with minor damage. Iran has since declared the operation over.

Defence Minister Bill Blair said Sunday on X, formerly Twitter, that he was receiving regular updates from the Canadian Forces “and will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Canada’s political parties were united in condemning Iran after the offensive.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada “unequivocally condemns” the attack in a region already embroiled in a six-month-long war between Israel and Hamas.

“These attacks demonstrate yet again the Iranian regime’s disregard for peace and stability in the region,” Trudeau said in a statement released shortly after the offensive got underway. “We support Israel’s right to defend itself and its people from these attacks.

Conflict between Israel and Iran heightened after an airstrike blamed on Israel destroyed Iran’s consulate in Syria and killed two Iranian generals. Tehran vowed revenge.

READ MORE: Booms and sirens in Israel after Iran launches ballistic missiles and drones in unprecedented attack

Israel closed its airspace Saturday in anticipation of Iran’s attacks and by early Sunday, booms and air-raid sirens sounded across the country.

The Israeli military’s spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said Iran fired scores of drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles — with the vast majority intercepted outside Israel’s borders. He said warplanes intercepted over 10 cruise missiles alone, also outside Israeli airspace.

A handful managed to land in Israel, he said.

U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said they downed some of the missiles that were en route.

In Washington, Biden said U.S. forces helped Israel down “nearly all” the drones and missiles and pledged to convene allies to develop a unified response. U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Britain’s air force shot down a number of Iranian drones.

Biden said he later spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I told him that Israel demonstrated a remarkable capacity to defend against and defeat even unprecedented attacks — sending a clear message to its foes that they cannot effectively threaten the security of Israel,” Biden said.

The U.S., along with allies, has sent direct messages to Tehran to warn against escalating the conflict.

Israel and Iran have been on a collision course throughout Israel’s six-month war against Hamas militants in Gaza.

In the Oct. 7 attack that sparked the current war, Iran-backed militants from Hamas and Islamic Jihad killed 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped 250 others. The subsequent Israeli offensive in Gaza has caused widespread devastation and killed over 33,000 people, according to local health officials.

Ottawa has faced pressure in recent months to designate the IRGC — the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of Iran’s military — as a terrorist organization.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre said Canada must work with allies to hold Iran accountable.

“The Government of Canada must immediately ban the Tehran-controlled terrorist group, IRGC, to protect our people and stop the regime from using our country to raise funds, plan and co-ordinate,” he said in a written statement released on Saturday.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh condemned the “serious escalation represented by Iran’s attack on Israel.”

“So many innocent people have been killed in the region — this is unacceptable,” Singh wrote on X. “Canada must do everything in its power to de-escalate the situation.”

International criticism of Iran’s escalation has been swift, with the United Nations secretary-general calling for “an immediate cessation of these hostilities.”

Israel’s ambassador to Canada thanked Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister MĂ©lanie Joly for their words of support.

“Israel will continue to defend itself against hostile attacks from Iran and all of its proxies in the region. Iran is attempting to disrupt regional stability and we thank our allies for their support as these events unfold,” Iddo Moed said in a statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 14, 2024.

— With files from The Associated Press

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