Connect with us

Published

on

Joe Biden has said he hopes a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas can be secured by the weekend.

The US president made the remarks during an unannounced visit to the Van Leeuwen ice cream parlour, next door to 30 Rock in New York, on Monday.

Flanked by late night TV show host Seth Meyers, Mr Biden was asked by reporters on when a ceasefire in Gaza could start.

In a surprise turn, he said that he hopes it will take place “by the end of the weekend”.

“My national security advisor (Jake Sullivan) tells me that we’re close, we’re close, we’re not done yet,” he said. “My hope is by next Monday we’ll have a ceasefire.”

Mr Biden’s comments come as Israel prepares to start a military operation in Rafah – which he has warned against without a “credible” plan to protect civilians.

Pic: AP
Image:
The US president made the remarks during an unannounced visit to the Van Leeuwen ice cream parlour, New York. Pic: AP

Israel has said it will go ahead with an offensive on the city if hostages are not returned by 10 March, which is when Ramadan starts.

More on Gaza

According to NBC News, Sky news’ US partner network, Qatar is mediating talks between Israel and Hamas this week, and ceasefire negotiations have taken place between US, Israeli, Qatari and Egyptian officials in Paris.

Should it happen, it would be the second ceasefire following one in November which saw several hundred Palestinians released from Israeli jails and about 100 hostages freed by Hamas.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu also said earlier on Monday that the Israeli Defence Force proposed a plan for the evacuation of civilians from “fighting areas” to the country’s war cabinet.

This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly.

Please refresh the page for the fullest version.

You can receive Breaking News alerts on a smartphone or tablet via the Sky News App. You can also follow @SkyNews on X or subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep up with the latest news.

Continue Reading

World

Joe Biden reaffirms US ‘ironclad’ support of Israel after Iran missile and drone attacks

Published

on

By

Joe Biden reaffirms US 'ironclad' support of Israel after Iran missile and drone attacks

Joe Biden has reaffirmed the US’s “ironclad” commitment to Israel’s security after Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles in an “unprecedented” attack.

With additional launches in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, over 300 drones and missiles, including 120 ballistic missiles and 30 cruise missiles, were fired at Israel.

RAF planes were involved in the defence of Israel on Saturday evening in a support capacity, Sky News understands, while US planes reportedly downed Iranian drones over northern Syria.

Follow live updates of Iran’s attack on Israel

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency war cabinet to discuss the situation late on Saturday night, while, in Washington, US President Joe Biden also held an emergency meeting with top security officials.

Benjamin Netanyahu with his war cabinet on Saturday. Pic: Israeli PM's office
Image:
Benjamin Netanyahu with his war cabinet on Saturday. Pic: Israeli PM’s office

In a statement following the meeting, Mr Biden reaffirmed the US’s “ironclad” commitment to “Israel’s security against threats from Iran and its proxies”.

Across Israel, the military sounded sirens in multiple locations in southern areas last night as well as in parts of the occupied West Bank, an alert app showed.

A matter of hours after the attack from Iran, Lebanon fired rockets into northern Israel – who responded with their own launches.

Sky News international correspondent Alex Rossi, in Jerusalem, said he had heard “explosions” and seen “what look like air defence interception systems”.

Objects are seen in the sky above Jerusalem after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel in Jerusalem
Image:
Objects are seen in the sky above Jerusalem after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel in Jerusalem

Interceptor missiles are launched into the sky in Jerusalem
Image:
Interceptor missiles are launched into the sky in Jerusalem

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said it was responding to an “attack on the consular section of the Iranian embassy in Damascus” on 1 April.

Two generals and seven members of the IRGC were killed in the strike, which Tehran blamed on Israel. Israel has not publicly commented.

However, early on Sunday morning, a senior Israeli source told Channel 12 TV that the country was planning a “significant response” to the Iranian drone salvo.

Iran’s foreign ministry said Tehran would “not hesitate” to take “further defensive measures” to “safeguard its legitimate interests against any military aggressions”.

The response will be “much larger than last night’s if Israel retaliates against Iran”, the chief of staff of its armed forces Major General Mohammad Bagheri told state TV. IRG commander Hossein Salami added that Tehran will retaliate against any attack on its “interests, officials or citizens”.

Emergency services work at a destroyed building hit by an air strike in Damascus, Syria, Monday, April 1, 2024. An Israeli airstrike has destroyed the consular section of Iran's embassy in Damascus, killing or wounding everyone inside, Syrian state media said Monday. (AP Photo/Omar Sanadiki)
Image:
An airstrike destroyed the consular section of Iran’s embassy in Damascus, killing or wounding a number of Iranian commanders earlier this month. Pic: AP

Ten-year-old “severely injured” by shrapnel

Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesman Daniel Hagari told a news conference “99%” of the projectiles were intercepted.

Mr Hagari said: “Regretfully, a 10-year-old was severely injured from shrapnel. We send them our wishes of quick recovery.

“Except for them, as far as we know, there have not been any other casualties and yet this event is not over.”

He added: “Iran pushed the Middle East towards escalation. We will do whatever is necessary in order to defend Israel.”

Air sirens sound in Israel

As the IDF announced the Iranian attack had begun, as did the White House, this weekend, it advised people in the Golan Heights, Nevatim, Dimona and Eilat to take shelter.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky’s Alex Rossi reports live from Jerusalem

More than 300 drones and missiles were launched by Tehran, along with 30 cruise missiles – 25 of which were intercepted outside Israel’s borders, according to the IDF.

They said Israeli forces had “successfully intercepted” the majority of the launches with its air defence system – as well as with help from its strategic allies – before they reached Israel.

Mr Hagari said the Nevatim Air Force base had been targeted and struck, suffering “slight damage to infrastructure alone” but it continued to function.

In this image released by the White House, President Joe Biden, third from right, meets with members of the National Security team regarding the unfolding missile attacks on Israel from Iran, Saturday, April 13, 2024, in the Situation Room of the White House in Washington. (Adam Schultz/The White House via AP)
Image:
US President Joe Biden meets with members of the National Security team. Pic: White House via AP

Mr Hagari also said 120 ballistic missiles were launched at Israel, but only a few managed to cross the border.

Drones were seen flying from Iran, through Iraqi airspace and in the direction of Israel, two Iraqi security sources told Reuters.

The drones are carrying 20kg of explosives each, Amos Yadlin, a retired general in the Israeli air force, told Channel 12 TV.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Iraq and Jordan close airspace

An ‘unprecedented’ attack

Mr Biden labelled the attack by Iran and its “proxies operating out of Yemen, Syria and Iraq”, as “unprecedented”.

He condemned it in the strongest possible terms and said that the US military had moved aircrafts and ballistic missile defence destroyers to the region over the course of the past week.

He also spoke to Mr Netanyahu and reaffirmed his “ironclad” support for Israel and said he was going to convene his fellow G7 leaders in response to “Iran’s brazen attack”.

‘Attack further undermines regional security’

US, British and French planes assisted in the Israeli response to the attack.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement that additional RAF jets and air refuelling tankers had also been deployed to the region to “bolster” Operation Shader – the UK’s existing counter-IS operation in Iraq and Syria.

“In addition, the jets will intercept airborne attacks within range of our existing missions,” he said.

“I strongly condemn the senseless airborne attack that Iran has launched on Israel. It serves no benefit other than to further undermine regional security.”

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

Jets from Jordan are also thought to have shot down Iranian drones flying across their airspace towards Israel, security sources have told the news agency Reuters – despite Tehran issuing an earlier warning to the country not to interfere with their strikes.

Israeli aviation authorities closed the country’s airspace to all flights – but it was reopened again several hours after the attacks.

Wing of Zion – Israel’s version of Air Force One – is airborne because of “operational considerations” and Mr Hagari added that the situation was “still unfolding”, and Israel continued to monitor its borders.

‘Reckless attack’

Earlier, Israel called off school trips and other youth activities planned for the coming days.

Jordan temporarily closed its airspace, state media reported, as did Iraq. Both have now reopened.

Egypt said its air defences were on alert.

Eithad airways has cancelled its services today to Tel Aviv in Israel and Amman in Jordan.

Read more:
Direct attack against Israel by Iran is unprecedented
Iran attack on Israel: Everything we know so far

Israel’s PM vows Rafah invasion will go ahead

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Explosions light up the sky above Jerusalem

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he condemned “in the strongest terms the Iranian regime’s reckless attack against Israel”.

He added: “Iran has once again demonstrated that it is intent on sowing chaos in its own backyard.

“The UK will continue to stand up for Israel’s security and that of all our regional partners, including Jordan and Iraq.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “We condemn the Iranian regime’s decision to subject Israelis to these unacceptable attacks.

“The international community has been united in urging restraint, and we regret that, yet again, Iran has chosen a different, dangerous path.”

Saudi Arabia also called on all parties to exercise the “utmost levels” of restraint and to spare the region and its people the dangers of war, while UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres also urged “maximum restraint”.

Continue Reading

World

All-out war, or not, in the Middle East? Biden’s test at the most dangerous moment

Published

on

By

All-out war, or not, in the Middle East? Biden's test at the most dangerous moment

“What next?” It’s a question anxiously asked too many times in the past six months.

And no doubt the question formed the crux of the late-night call between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Follow live: Iran launches attack on Israel

Iran’s spectacular drone and missile assault on Israel is truly unprecedented.

A region already reeling from the Hamas attacks and the Israeli retaliation on Gaza is being rocked again.

American leadership and leverage, tested repeatedly, is undergoing a bigger strain still.

This time though the consequence of President Biden’s test is all-out war, or not, in the Middle East. It is the scenario most feared since 7 October.

More on Iran

Without question, this moment – right now – is the most dangerous yet, by a long way.

A direct attack by Iran, from Iranian soil, against Israel is a red line crossed in Tel Aviv.

Image:
The aftermath of the airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on 1 April. Pic: Reuters

Iran’s trigger was another unprecedented moment and another red line crossed, on 1 April, when a missile landed on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria killing 16 people. The Israeli trigger for that? Iran’s malign regional behaviour, as they would see it.

Tit, tat, tit, tat. You can see how this spirals. It explains the grim faces of the US president and his officials in the White House situation room overnight.

Even though so many of the drones and missiles were intercepted and despite no mass casualty scenario, Israelis will feel profoundly vulnerable, and the Israeli government may feel compelled to retaliate.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Explosions light up sky above Jerusalem

Impressions and the re-establishment of deterrence count for a lot in the Middle East.

That is precisely why Iran hit back after the Damascus consulate attack. It’s also why Israel may be unable to ignore Tehran’s weekend wave of drones and missiles. Never in its history has Israel faced an aerial assault like this.

Read more:
Netanyahu convenes Israeli war cabinet as Iran attacks

Direct attack against Israel by Iran is unprecedented
Iran attack on Israel: Everything we know so far

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

And of course, in the White House they know all this all too well. But we all know too that the US-Israeli relationship has been severely strained by Gaza.

President Biden’s test now is to balance the action and reaction of a nation facing a moment that will feel, internally, to be existential with the consequences of an all-out regional war.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Why has Iran launched drones?

Significant Jewish settler violence in the West Bank, Hezbollah attacks from southern Lebanon and the continued disaster in Gaza all risk compounding the chaos.

Iran’s actions were more than anyone had expected. An unprecedented and enormously risky attack on Israel. It was an extreme attempt to re-establish deterrence. That works both ways.

Just six months ago, days before 7 October, President Biden’s national security advisor Jake Sullivan wrote “the region is quieter than it has been for decades… We have de-escalated crises in Gaza & restored direct diplomacy…”

He was spectacularly misguided.

Continue Reading

World

Sydney stabbings: Police name attacker who killed six people as Joel Cauchi

Published

on

By

Sydney stabbings: Police name attacker who killed six people as Joel Cauchi

The Sydney stabbings attacker who killed six people has been named by police.

New South Wales Police (NSW) said on Sunday that Joel Cauchi, 40, was responsible for the attack on Saturday afternoon at a busy Sydney shopping centre before he was fatally shot by a police officer.

Cauchi, who police said suffered from unspecified mental health issues, launched the knife attack at the Westfield Shopping Centre in Bondi Junction.

Investigators are not treating the incident as terrorism-related and have spoken to Cauchi’s family.

NSW assistant police commissioner Anthony Cooke told reporters at a press conference: “We are continuing to work through the profiling of the offender but very clearly to us at this stage it would appear that this is related to the mental health of the individual involved.

“There is still, to this point… no information we have received, no evidence we have recovered, no intelligence that we have gathered that would suggest that this was driven by any particular motivation – ideology or otherwise.”

A woman pays her respect and lays flowers at the scene of Saturday's mass stabbing. Pic: Reuters
Image:
A woman pays her respect and lays flowers at the scene of Saturday’s mass stabbing. Pic: Reuters

Ash Good
Image:
Ashlee Good

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Dying mum throws baby to brothers

Cauchi’s family released a statement today through Queensland Police.

More on Australia

They said: “We are absolutely devastated by the traumatic events that occurred in Sydney yesterday.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims and those still undergoing treatment at this time.

“Joel’s actions were truly horrific, and we are still trying to comprehend what has happened.

“He has battled with mental health issues since he was a teenager.”

Six killed in stabbings

New mum Ashlee Good has been named as one of the six people killed in the stabbings.

The 38-year-old was reported to have passed her baby to two men after she was injured.

“I was holding the baby. It looked pretty bad,” one of the men told 9News.

His brother added: “He helped with holding the baby and trying to compress the baby and same with the mother.

Pic: Reuters
Image:
Pic: Reuters

Police do not believe the attack was terror-related. Pic: Reuters
Image:
Police do not believe the attack was terror-related. Pic: Reuters

“We just kept yelling out to get some clothes, get some shirts and just help us to compress and stop the baby from bleeding.”

The other brother added: “There was a lot of blood on the floor. I hope the baby is alright.”

A statement from Ms Good’s family, as reported by ABC, said: “Today we are reeling from the terrible loss of Ashlee, a beautiful mother, daughter, sister, partner, friend, all-round outstanding human, and so much more.

“We appreciate the well wishes and thoughts of members of the Australian public who have expressed an outpouring of love for Ashlee and our baby girl.

Emergency service workers are seen at the scene at Bondi Junction. Pic: Reuters
Image:
Pic: Reuters

Six people were killed in the attack. Pic: Reuters
Image:
Pic: Reuters

“The two men who held and cared for our baby when Ashlee could not – words cannot express our gratitude. We are struggling to come to terms with what has occurred.”

The family added that after hours of surgery the baby was doing well.

The daughter of an Australian businessman has also been named as one of the victims.

Dawn Singleton, 25, was also killed according to widespread media reports in Australia.

Her dad, John Singleton, 82, is a well-known Australian entrepreneur.

According to Ms Singleton’s LinkedIn profile she studied a degree in communications at the University of Technology Sydney.

A third victim was named as Faraz Tahir, by the Australian Pakistani National Association.

They described him as “courageous” and said he was a Pakistani national who had moved to Australia for work.

“Let us stand together in solidarity, offering support and prayers to those grieving and affected by this heartbreaking loss,” their statement said.

New South Wales police commissioner Karen Webb said in a press conference that a man in his 30s killed in the attack was a security guard at the shopping centre.

Six people, five women and one man, aged between 20 and 55, were killed in the attack and 12 others remain in hospital including Ms Good’s child.

Video footage appears to show people fleeing from a knife-wielding Cauchi as he walked through the shopping centre, lunging at people.

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

Read more from Sky News:
World’s oldest conjoined twins die
Why has Iran launched drones?
Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli has died

He was only stopped when Inspector Amy Scott shot Cauchi dead at the scene.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the lone officer was “certainly a hero” whose actions had saved many more lives.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Authorities said the suspect is known to them

He added: “The wonderful inspector who ran into danger by herself and removed the threat that was there to others, without thinking about the risks to herself.

“We also see the footage of ordinary Australians putting themselves in harm’s way in order to help their fellow citizens.

“That bravery was quite extraordinary that we saw yesterday.”

Inspector Scott was shown in local media footage administering CPR on the man after he was shot.

“When I met Amy last night… we talked about her going straight into police mode, everything she has been taught during her career and how instinctive it was,” NSW Police Minister Yasmin Catley said.

She added: “When I said to her ‘thank you for your courage’ she said ‘it was not just me, the bystanders around me were so helpful’. (She was) so humble, it’s just typical of a NSW police officer.”

The shopping centre remains closed on Sunday and will be an active crime scene over the coming days, police said.

Continue Reading

Trending