Israel on alert after Iranian threat as Gaza war grinds on

Israel was on alert Thursday after its arch-foe Iran threatened reprisals over a strike in Syria this month that killed two Iranian generals, and as the war against Hamas ground on in Gaza.

Days after Israel strengthened its air defences and paused leave for combat units, the United States also warned of the risk of an attack by Iran or its allied groups at a time when Middle East tensions have soared.

Iran is "threatening to launch a significant attack on Israel", U.S. President Joe Biden said Wednesday, pledging "ironclad" support for its top regional ally despite diplomatic tensions over Israel's military conduct in Gaza.

Israel was widely blamed for an April 1 attack that destroyed Iran's consulate building in Damascus and killed seven Revolutionary Guards, including two generals.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned Wednesday that Israel "must be punished and will be punished", days after one of his advisers said Israeli embassies are "no longer safe".

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz swiftly replied on social media site X that "if Iran attacks from its territory, Israel will respond and attack Iran".

Biden said he had told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that "our commitment to Israel's security against these threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad".

U.S. Central Command chief Michael Kurilla was in Israel on Thursday to discuss the situation with Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, the Pentagon said.

"We warned Iran," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told a briefing without elaborating.

The U.S. embassy in Israel also announced it was restricting the movements of its diplomats over security fears, saying that "out of an abundance of caution" staffers...

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