Turkish president says Netanyahu to blame for Iran’s attack on Israel

Erdogan accuses prime minister of leading country in an ‘aggressive attitude’ that should be ‘condemned’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech in Ankara on April 1, 2024. (Adem Altan/AFP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech in Ankara on April 1, 2024. (Adem Altan/AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the main party to blame for Iran’s unprecedented missile attack on Israel over the weekend.

“The main one responsible for the tension that gripped our hearts on the evening of April 13 is Netanyahu and his bloody administration,” the Turkish leader, who regularly criticizes Israel and its leadership, said in televised remarks.

“Those who have been silent for months about Israel’s aggressive attitude immediately condemned the Iranian response,” he said. “But it’s Netanyahu himself who is the first who should be condemned.”

Iran fired over 300 attack drones and missiles at Israel on Saturday, in retaliation for a deadly April 1 strike on what it said was a building in Tehran’s embassy compound in Syria, in which several commanders of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed, that it blames on Israel.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, Iran’s attack comprised 170 drones, 30 cruise missiles, and 120 ballistic missiles — 99 percent of which were intercepted by air defenses. The few that got through caused very minor damage, according to the military. One young girl was critically injured.

Erdogan said the April 1 attack in Damascus violated international law and “was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

IDF spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari next to an Iranian ballistic missile that fell in Israel over the weekend, at the Julis military base in the south, April 16, 2024. (Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP)

Israel has vowed to retaliate for the Iranian attack, though its allies, including the United States, are urging restraint.

Turkey on Sunday called for “an end to the escalation” in the Middle East after Iran’s attack on Israel, saying there was a risk of setting off a regional war.

In addition to Israel’s own air defense systems and air force, a coordinated response by US, British, French and Jordanian forces also helped intercept the wave of Iranian missiles and drones, shooting down many.

The clash with Iran came amid Israel’s ongoing war against the Palestinian terror group Hamas in the Gaza Strip and fighting along its northern border with Iran-backed Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.

The war began on October 7 when Hamas led a devastating cross-border attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians. Israel responded with a military campaign to destroy Hamas and free 253 hostages of all ages that terrorists abducted and took as hostages in Gaza.

The day after the Hamas attack, Hezbollah began assaults at the northern border and has kept up near-daily rocket fire on towns and communities in the area ever since. Israel has retaliated by striking Hezbollah infrastructure in Lebanon, and also related targets in Syria, also an ally of Iran.

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