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It's time 'the world faces this empire of evil in Tehran,' Israeli President Herzog tells Sky News

Herzog: Iran 'spending billions of dollars just undermining stability in the region with endless terror'

Israeli President Isaac Herzog in an interview with Sky News (Photo: Screenshot)

In the wake of an unprecedented direct attack against Israel on Saturday night from the Iranian regime, which included 300 projectiles, Israeli President Isaac Herzog spoke to Sky News about the nation's options amid Tehran’s “declaration of war.”

“Every one of us should look and ask, 'What would we do have we been attacked in such an aggressive way, as we were attacked last night from four corners of the Middle East with proxies shooting at us, firing missiles, ballistic missiles, drones, and then cruise missiles?' This is like a real war," said Herzog in an interview with the UK international-based news channel.

"This is a declaration of war. Now, because we are restrained and because we know the repercussions, and because we have deliberations with our partners, we are considering all options and I'm quite confident that we will take the necessary steps to protect and defend our people. We are not war seekers,” he said.

The Islamic Republic launched 170 drones and 30 cruise missiles into Israel at around 11 p.m. on Saturday, setting off air raid sirens and causing loud explosions to sound throughout the country. Several hours later, Iran shot 120 ballistic missiles into Israeli territory, causing minor damage at the Nevatim Airbase.

Israel Defense Forces noted that the long-range Arrow missile defense system was able to shoot down 99% of the projectiles, although some penetrated Israel’s defenses and struck the airbase in southern Israel.

In a separate statement, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said U.S. forces “intercepted dozens of missiles and UAVs en route to Israel, launched from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.”

U.S. President Joe Biden praised Israel’s ability to defend itself against the barrage of attacks and promised a “diplomatic response” to be coordinated with G7 leaders.

When speaking to Sky News, Herzog said, “The key issue for the free world is to understand that there is an empire of evil in Tehran, which has its proxies laid all over the region and terror cells all over the world. It's about time that the world faces this 'empire of evil' in Tehran, and makes it clear to the Iranian regime that this cannot pass by, that this is unacceptable. This attack is just another example of how they operate for years and years, spreading havoc, terror, and instability all over the world and especially in our region.”

“What is Iran doing spending billions of dollars when most of its people are really, really poor and suffering from the failures of that regime?" Herzog continued. "They're spending billions of dollars just undermining stability in the region with endless terror. Every citizen in the world is suffering in the cost of living because they've armed a small tribe called the Houthis in Yemen, while blocking the main artery of a commercial sea and transportation around the world, in the Red Sea. Another example why we should not turn a blind eye. But we should be looking lucidly at the phenomena called Tehran and Iran. Why is this empire of evil using its weapons all over? All Ukrainian citizens are suffering from their drones. It's another perfect example of how they operate all over the world. And we are here. We are here to protect Europe in many ways from this empire of evil and it's about time we realise it."

He added, “Thank God for the Israeli military and the incredible partnerships we have with the allies, including forces led by the United States of America, but also thanks to the British forces."

Regarding Israel's ongoing conflict in Gaza against the Hamas terrorist organization, the Israeli president said: “The number one issue is the release of the Israeli hostages in Gaza who are being tortured and raped, suffering tremendously. We want them back as soon as possible."

The entire world leadership is calling for that. But Hamas is adamantly refusing time and again - that's the real situation at hand. Five times in a row we have offered new suggestions, and they've rejected. It's about time that the world realised. The world must realise that they don't really want to move to a deal and therefore we have to take necessary action in order to bring the hostages back home.”

On Saturday night, Hamas negotiators presented another proposal for a ceasefire and hostage release deal to mediators, demanding Israel observe a six-week ceasefire before it receives any of the 133 hostages still held by the terror group.

The proposal was reportedly submitted after the terror group rejected the U.S.-mediated deal late on Saturday night.

In the proposal, Hamas said that the IDF would be required to withdraw from all urban areas in Gaza for six weeks, cease all fighting and allow displaced Palestinians to return to their homes in the north. Only after the end of the six weeks would any hostages be released, the terror group says, saying that it would use the weeks of paused hostilities to locate the hostages and ascertain what condition they are in.

On Sunday, the IDF struck several targets of the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah who took part in the direct attack against Israel, including the elite Radwan force.

Shortly after the Iranian attack, Iran's Armed Forces Chief Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Bagheri warned against another attack if Israel conducts a counterstrike, saying, “Our response will be much larger than tonight’s military action if Israel retaliates against Iran.” 

Bagheri added that Iran would attack U.S. military bases in the Middle East if Washington took part in facilitating an Israeli counterstrike on Iranian soil.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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