Middle East, world cannot ‘afford more war’: UN chief

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United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned the international community Sunday against deeper descent into conflict, addressing the Security Council during a meeting over Iran’s weekend attack on Israel.

“Neither the region nor the world can afford more war,” Guterres said.

“The Middle East is on the brink,” he told the Security Council.

“The people of the region are confronting a real danger of a devastating full-scale conflict. Now is the time to defuse and de-escalate,” he added, calling for “maximum restraint.”

Late on Saturday, Iran launched a direct attack on its long-time arch foe Israel for the first time, firing a wave of more than 300 missiles and drones.

Nearly all of them were intercepted by Israel and others, including the United States, Jordan and Britain.

According to the Israeli army, 12 people were injured.

Iran said its attack came in response to a deadly April 1 air strike on Tehran’s consulate building in the Syrian capital Damascus that was widely blamed on Israel.

That attack killed seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards, including two senior generals, and prompted Iranian threats of retaliation.

The unprecedented exchange, marking a major escalation between the two countries, has sparked renewed fears of a broader conflict, including the potential for an Israel counterstrike.