Israel 'ready to attack Iran' as new president Ebrahim Raisi is sworn in

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Israeli self-propelled howitzers take position in the northern town of Kiryat Shmona following rocket fire from Lebanon, on August 4, 2021. - Jalaa MAREY / AFP
Israeli self-propelled howitzers take position in the northern town of Kiryat Shmona following rocket fire from Lebanon, on August 4, 2021. - Jalaa MAREY / AFP

Israel warned it was “ready” to strike Iran on Thursday as the regime’s new president was due to be sworn in by the Iranian parliament at a ceremony in Tehran.

Benny Gantz, the Israeli defence minister, said Western allies had “now reached the point” where military action against Iran was necessary.

"Israel is ready to attack Iran, yes,” he told the Israeli news website Ynet.

"We are at a point where we need to take military action against Iran. The world needs to take action against Iran now,” he added.

His remarks appeared to be an attempt to heap pressure on the UK and United States to adopt a tougher stance on Iran that goes beyond diplomatic protests and sanctions. 

Later on Thursday, Ebrahim Raisi will be sworn in as Iran’s president, two days after winning the formal endorsement of the supreme leader following his election victory in June.

Mr Raisi, who has been dubbed the “hangman of Iran” by Israel for a spate of executions and other rights abuses while serving as a judge, has promised to remove crippling sanctions imposed by the United States.

It came as the Israeli air forces carried out airstrikes in Lebanon for the first time in seven years, in retaliation for a series of rockets fired across the border at Israel.

Lebanon condemned the strikes as an "escalation" while UN peacekeepers urged restraint.

"Earlier today (Thursday), rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israeli territory," the Israeli air force tweeted.

"In response... fighter jets struck the launch sites and infrastructure used for terror in Lebanon from which the rockets were launched.

"An additional target in the area from which rockets have been launched in the past was struck as well."

Israeli aircraft routinely strike Palestinian militant targets in Gaza and suspected Hezbollah or Iranian targets in Syria.

Watch: Rocket fire from Lebanon hits northern Israel prompting shelling

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