Iran’s threats of retaliation against Israel, following a deadly strike against the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria, are raising tension in the Middle East. In this context, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Séjourné, “recommends that the French absolutely refrain from traveling in the coming days” to Iran, Israel, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, his entourage to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

A concrete sign of the stiffening in the region, he also called for the “return of the families of diplomatic agents from Tehran” as well as a ban on missions by French officials in these countries.

The day before, Thursday, the United States announced that it was restricting the movement of members of its diplomatic staff and their families to Israel. A US general in charge of the Middle East, Michael Erik Kurilla, is in Israel to discuss “security threats in the region” with the country’s military leaders, Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said.

According to him, this visit, planned before the Iranian threats, was brought forward “due to recent developments”. The German airline Lufthansa also announced that it was extending the suspension of its flights to and from Tehran, “probably until Saturday (inclusive)”, due to these tensions.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, assured in a speech broadcast live on the occasion of Eid-el-Fitr that “the evil regime [this is how “he names Israel] had made a mistake, [that it] should be punished and will be punished”, reacting to the strikes attributed to the Israeli air force which destroyed the Iranian consulate in Damascus.

These left sixteen people dead, including seven members of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. After telephone conversations with his German, Australian and British counterparts, the head of Iranian diplomacy, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, spoke of the “need” for Tehran to respond to these strikes, while seeking to “avoid tensions”.

Joe Biden’s ‘unwavering’ support for Israel

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz responded on his X account, saying: “If Iran carries out an attack from its territory, Israel will respond and attack Iran. » “We are in the middle of a war in Gaza, which continues at full speed (…), but we are also preparing to face challenges in other theaters” of operations, warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday .

The White House said Thursday it had “warned” Iran, while Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by telephone with his Chinese, Turkish and Saudi counterparts, calling on them to put pressure on Tehran against any attack targeting Israel, according to the State Department. “As I told Prime Minister Netanyahu, our commitment to Israel’s security in the face of these threats from Iran and its allies is unwavering,” US President Joe Biden also said before insist: I repeat: unwavering. We will do everything we can to protect Israel’s security. » Russia and Germany, for their part, called for “restraint” in order to avoid an escalation in the Middle East.

This potential response from Iran to Israeli strikes against its consulate comes as diplomatic discussions around a truce between Israel and Hamas have so far failed to reach a compromise. On Thursday, Israel accused Hamas of “turning its back” on a “very reasonable offer.”

The latest proposal put forward by Qatar, the United States and Egypt initially provides for a six-week truce as well as the release of 42 hostages held in Gaza in exchange for 800 to 900 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel and the return home. they are residents of the north of the territory displaced by the war, according to a Hamas source from Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Hamas demands, before any agreement, a definitive ceasefire, the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, a significant increase in humanitarian aid, a return of the displaced and a “serious” agreement on the exchange of hostages and Palestinian prisoners. The leader of the Islamist movement, Ismaïl Haniyeh, maintains that the death earlier this week of three of his sons in an Israeli strike in Gaza was not likely to weaken his position in the negotiations.