Iran state media removes airspace closure report over Tehran after warnings of possible strike on Israel

Iran state media removed a report on Wednesday that authorities were closing airspace following warnings from American and Israeli sources that an attack on Israel was imminent. Iran’s Mehr news agency took down the report from its official channel on social media that had said Iran was closing its airspace over the capital and denied it ever published the report, according to Reuters. The original report cited the Iranian defense minister as saying that all air traffic had been suspended over Tehran “due to reasons.” The unpublished report comes after reports that the U.S. and its allies believe either Iran or its proxies are planning to strike Israel in retaliation for its airstrike in Damascus earlier this month. The strike killed 12 people, including Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a senior figure in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard who led the group’s elite Quds Force in Lebanon and Syria until 2016.Earlier Wednesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated a promise to retaliate against Israel over the attack on its consulate in Damascus. Israel has not acknowledged its involvement, though it has been bracing for an Iranian response to the attack, a significant escalation in their long-running shadow war.Khamenei made the remarks at a prayer ceremony celebrating the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, saying the strike on its consular was akin to an attack on Iranian territory.”When they attacked our consulate area, it was like they attacked our territory,” Khamenei said, in remarks broadcast by Iranian state TV. “The evil regime must be punished, and it will be punished.”Neither Katz nor the Ayatollah elaborated on the way they would retaliate.Khamenei also criticized the West, particularly the U.S. and Britain, for supporting Israel in its war against Hamas in Gaza.”It was expected they (would) prevent (Israel) in this disaster. They did not. They did not fulfill their duties, the Western governments,” he said.Earlier Wednesday Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant warned that anyone who attacks Israel “will be met with a strong defense.” “We know how to respond quickly and decisively to the territory of whoever attacks our territory – no matter where that may be in the Middle East,” he said. “Over the years, we have been known to prepare surprises for our enemies.”Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz issued similar warnings Wednesday, saying his country’s forces would strike Iran directly if the Islamic Republic launched an attack from its territory against Israel.”If Iran attacks from its territory, Israel will respond and attack in Iran,” Katz said in a post on social media in both Farsi and Hebrew.Gallant’s comments come days after the war between Israel and Hamas entered its seventh month. Israeli forces have been fighting Hamas after the terrorist group stormed Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking around 250 more hostages. Per the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza, Israel is responsible for the deaths of more than 33,000 Palestinians, though the ministry does not distinguish between civilians and enemy combatants. Israel has disputed these figures.