IRAN’S attack on Israel, launching waves of 300 drones and missiles from its own soil, was unjustified, dangerous and completely reckless. Just one malfunctioning, misfiring missile could have caused many deaths and escalated the current crisis; had all 300 of them got through, the consequences would have been unthinkable.

It was right that Britain’s armed forces were there, in action, to prevent that from happening.

The attack reminds us that Iran is the major cause of instability in its own region – arming Hamas and Hezbollah and the Houthis – and also beyond it: it is drones from Iran that Russia is using to rain down on Ukraine’s energy generation capabilities.

However, it must also be acknowledged that by attacking the Iranian consulate in Syria, Israel backed Iran into a corner where if it had not responded, it would have been shown to be impotent.

Therefore, all world leaders who are urging Israel to think “carefully and calmly” about what it does next are correct.

Israel’s massive military response to the Hamas terrorist attack of October 7 has not made its own people safer. In fact, they are all now coming under attack. So how will more of the same lead to an improvement?

The events of the weekend must also remind us that the situation in Gaza is the fuel that is causing this fire to burn. It has to be addressed. The hostages have to be returned; there has to be a ceasefire; aid must be allowed in huge quantities to reach the Palestinian civilians who are now living in famine conditions.

Retaliatory action against Iran by Israel will not assist in the meeting of any of these primary objectives. It is to be hoped that the Israeli government can hear all the calls for restraint coming from the leaders of Europe and America, who are Israel’s allies and who can see, dispassionately, what is in the country’s best interests.