Tehran launched a wave of drone and missile strikes toward the Jewish state over the weekend Israeli Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran, in central Israel, Sunday, April 14, 2024. © AP Photo/Tomer Neuberg

Iran and Israel should exercise restraint and avoid a further escalation of hostilities in the region, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday, commenting on Tehran’s drone and missile strikes on Israel over the weekend.

The attacks came in retaliation for an airstrike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus, Syria earlier this month that killed several high-ranking Iranian officers, including two generals. Tehran blamed Israel for the attack. Israel has not openly acknowledged its role, but Defense Minister Yoav Gallant implied responsibility in a later statement that Israel “strikes our enemies all over the Middle East.”

“We are deeply concerned with another dangerous escalation in the region,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said, noting that crises in the Middle East, particularly the current Palestinian-Israeli conflict, are “often fueled by irresponsible provocative actions” that only lead to further tensions.

“We call on all parties involved to exercise restraint. We hope that regional states will solve existing problems through political and diplomatic means,” the ministry added.

According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Tehran fired more than 300 missiles and kamikaze drones, but the IDF said that most of the incoming projectiles were shot down before reaching Israeli airspace, with only a small fraction making it through and resulting in minor damage.

‘Punishment’ of Israel completed – Tehran ‘Punishment’ of Israel completed – Tehran

Iranian officials, however, claimed that the barrage had “more success than expected.” The chief of staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Bagheri, said on Sunday that Tehran considers the weekend strikes a sufficient “punishment” of Israel for the attack on its consulate and has no intention of continuing the operation. However, he promised a “much more extensive” response in case of future attacks from the IDF.

Tensions between Israel and Iran have been escalating since the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza started last October. West Jerusalem accused Tehran of masterminding the deadly raid on Israel that triggered the conflict, and of backing Hamas, Hezbollah, and other pro-Palestine militant groups in the region. Tehran denied involvement in the October attack but pledged to continue to support Hamas and other Palestinian groups. (RT)