Thousands of Iranians chanting 'death to Israel' take to the streets while regime MPs celebrate 'revenge' attack in parliament

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Iran’s government celebrated its ‘revenge’ as missiles and drones hurtled towards Israel early on Sunday, while Tehran’s streets filled with thousands of supporters celebrating the attack – and emptied of those fearful of a possible retaliation.

State television broadcast jubilant scenes in the capital and several other cities, where pro-regime Iranians set off flares, flew flags and chanted ‘Death to Israel’.

Their slogans were repeated by Iranian MPs gathered in parliament, with footage showing lawmakers crowding together, raising their fists in the air and chanting victoriously as the Iranian flag is held up above them.

But for many ordinary Iranians, Sunday night was filled with terror as their fears of an Israeli counter-attack mounted, with roads reportedly becoming gridlocked as scores of families sought to leave the capital.

Footage shows long queues of cars outside petrol stations as people made emergency preparations, while others packed up their belongings and headed away from Tehran and other areas feared to be possible targets.

Iran 's government celebrated its 'revenge' as missiles and drones hurtled towards Israel early on Sunday

Iran ‘s government celebrated its ‘revenge’ as missiles and drones hurtled towards Israel early on Sunday

Iranian MPs gathered in parliament punching the air and chanting victoriously as the Iranian flag is held up above them

Iranian MPs gathered in parliament punching the air and chanting victoriously as the Iranian flag is held up above them

Iranian demonstrators wave Palestinian flags as they attend an anti-Israeli gathering in front of the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran, April 14, 2024

Iranian demonstrators wave Palestinian flags as they attend an anti-Israeli gathering in front of the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran, April 14, 2024

An Iranian man is holding a scale model of a cannon shell during a celebration in support of Iran's IRGC UAV and missile attack against Israel

An Iranian man is holding a scale model of a cannon shell during a celebration in support of Iran’s IRGC UAV and missile attack against Israel

A Tehran resident said: ‘People are terrified,’ he added. ‘The authorities took a huge gamble. It’s like a suicide. It might be their downfall, but the public will suffer most.’

The man named Ali told The Telegraph in the early hours of Sunday that he and his family were fleeing Tehran for his parents’ home 200km away.

Meanwhile residents in the city of Qom, around two hours south of the capital, are reported to have bunkered down amid fears that their area could be a target for a possible Israeli reprisal.

Fordow is based in the city, an underground uranium enrichment facility at an ex Iranian military base, with residents reportedly telling of their fear that nuclear radiation could spill out.

Sima Shine, a former Mossad agent who heads the INSS Iran programme, said that ‘if Israel retaliates, it will be done within the same framework: targeting military sites, not civilian areas, and probably not economic targets’.

Security consultant Stephane Audrand said that, to limit the risk of further escalation, ‘the Israelis would need to confine themselves to strikes on conventional sites, on sites from which missiles were launched, on drone factories’.

Speaking on Sunday as the immediate threat appeared to dissipate, one Iranian proudly declared his support for his government’s actions, saying they showed Iran’s strength and that it will retaliate where necessary.

Iranian lawmakers chant slogans at an open session of the parliament in Tehran as Iran launches dozens of drones toward Israel

Iranian lawmakers chant slogans at an open session of the parliament in Tehran as Iran launches dozens of drones toward Israel

People gather in support of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' attack on Israel on April 14, 2024

People gather in support of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ attack on Israel on April 14, 2024

‘[Israel] realised who they are dealing with. It’s perfect!’ the resident told reporters in Tehran. 

Further video appeared to show crowds at the grave of Qasem Soleimani, the top Iranian military commander who was killed by a US air strike in Iraq in 2020. 

The large group of men were said to be chanting death to America and Israel shortly after the Revolutionary Guards announced the launch of their so-called Operation Honest Promise.

As some 350 rockets, missiles and drones were launched at Israel in the early hours of Sunday, demonstrators flocked to Tehran’s Palestine Square.

Scores waved Iranian and Palestinian national flags alongside banners reading ‘God’s victory is near’.

A mural saying ‘the next slap is fiercer’ was unveiled in in Tehran’s Palestine Square square, where a huge banner has hung for days calling, in Hebrew, for Israelis to ‘take shelter’.

Telegram channels supporting Iran also celebrated what they suggested was a successful operation, with one saying: ‘The enemy will regret it and consider it a historic slap.’

The same phrase was reportedly used by Iran’s parliament speaker, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, who referred to the attack as ‘the Iranian people’s slap’ on the enemy’s face, saying it taught Israel ‘a lesson’ and made Iranians ‘happy’.