Austrian Airlines
Austrian AirlinesiStock

Austrian Airlines, the last west European airline flying to Iran, announced on Friday it was suspending all flights from Vienna to Tehran until April 18 in response to escalating tensions in the region, Reuters reported.

"Routes that pass through Iranian air space will also be modified," Austrian Airlines said in a statement. "The safety of our passengers and crews have highest priority."

Austrian Airlines had continued flying for longer than its German parent Lufthansa, since Vienna's closer proximity to Tehran meant it could more easily abort flights or be forced to leave staff in Tehran overnight.

Lufthansa announced on Wednesday that after careful evaluation it decided to suspend flights to and from Tehran, citing "the current situation in the Middle East".

Earlier on Friday, Austria's foreign ministry followed Germany in urging its citizens to leave Iran.

A host of countries on Friday warned their citizens against travelling to Israel and, in some cases, the wider region amid threats of an Iranian attack in response to a strike this month on its consulate in Damascus.

CBS News reported on Friday, citing two US officials, that an Iranian attack against Israel is expected to occur as soon as Friday and may include more than 100 drones and dozens of missiles aimed at military targets inside the country.

The officials said it would be challenging for the Israelis to defend against an attack of such a magnitude and while they held out the possibility that the Iranians could opt for a smaller-scale attack to avoid a dramatic escalation, their retaliation was believed to be imminent.

US President Joe Biden, meanwhile, on Friday warned Iran against attacking Israel, saying his message to them was “don’t”.

He added, “We are devoted to the defense of Israel. We will support Israel. We will help defend Israel, and Iran will not succeed.”

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)