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Israel Strikes Iranian Air Base: Tehran Downplays Attack As Blinken Calls For Calm; Oil Prices Stabilize After Initial Spike

Posted April 19, 2024 at 10:45 am
Piero Cingari
  • Israel launched a limited airstrike near an Iranian military base in retaliation for recent Iranian aerial attacks.
  • U.S. considers a $1+ billion new arms deal for Israel, including tanks and munitions, amid heightened Middle East tensions.

Israel launched a targeted airstrike near an Iranian military airbase overnight, as a retaliatory act to Iran’s aerial attacks that occurred less than a week ago.

Although the strike was described as limited, causing neither significant damage to the facility nor casualties, it has intensified uncertainties regarding the risk of a broader escalation within the Middle East.

Political Reactions

  • The Jerusalem Post interpreted the strike as Israel sending a “clear message” to Iran, emphasizing the proximity of the target to a key nuclear site and hinting at the potential for more severe actions. Israel’s National Security Minister, Itamar Ben Gvir, labeled the strike as “Feeble!” on social media X. Opposition leader Yair Lapid criticized Ben Gvir’s approach, accusing him of harming Israel’s security and international standing.
  • Iranian officials told Reuters they do not intend to retaliate, signaling a desire to avoid further escalation. Just a day earlier, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, told CNN during an exclusive interview that Iran’s next response “will be immediate and at a maximum level” in case Israel embarks “on adventurism again and takes actions against the interests of Iran.”
  • Global leaders also weighed in, with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stating that a “significant escalation is not in anyone’s interest.”
  • Speaking at the G7 meeting in Italy, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken remarked that the U.S. has not been involved in any offensive operations. He reiterated the commitment to Israel’s security and to “de-escalation” in the Middle East.
  • Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani informed reporters that the United States had disclosed to the Group of Seven foreign ministers that it was notified at the last minute about the attack on Iran.
  • U.S. officials revealed that the Biden administration is contemplating new weapons deals for Israel worth over $1 billion, which would include tank ammunition, military vehicles, and mortar rounds, as per The Wall Street Journal.

Market Impact

The immediate market reaction saw oil prices surge above $90 a barrel, though they later fell after assurances of no further retaliatory measures from Iran.

Gold prices briefly exceeded $2,400 per ounce, settling at around $2,380 as safe haven demand slightly faded.

Bitcoin experienced wild volatility, dropping to as low as $59,500 when Israel carried out the strike before rebounding to $65,000, as risks of an escalation dissipated.

Futures on major U.S. indices traded flat during premarket trading on Friday. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust closed 0.2% lower on Thursday, notching its fifth straight session of declines.

Chart: Markets React To Israeli Strikes In Iran

Chart: Markets React To Israeli Strikes In Iran

Originally Posted April 19, 2024 – Israel Strikes Iranian Air Base: Tehran Downplays Attack As Blinken Calls For Calm; Oil Prices Stabilize After Initial Spike

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