Sun, 19 May 2024
The Daily Ittefaq

Sirens, Blasts Sound Across Israel After Iran Fires Drones, Missiles

Update : 14 Apr 2024, 07:36

Iran launched a swarm of explosive drones and fired missiles at Israel late on Saturday in its first ever direct attack on Israeli territory, risking a major escalation as the United States pledged "ironclad" backing for Israel. Sirens wailed and Reuters journalists in Israel said they heard distant heavy thuds and bangs from what local media called aerial interceptions of explosive drones. Authorities said a 7-year-old girl was critically injured.

Israel's military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said Iran launched dozens of ground-to-ground missiles at Israel, most of which were intercepted outside Israeli borders. They included more than 10 cruise missiles, he said.

The Iranian salvo amounted to more than 200 drones and missiles so far, Hagari said, and had caused light damage to one Israeli military facility. He said the engagement had not ended, and Israeli forces were still intercepting incoming threats. 

Israel's Channel 12 TV cited an unnamed Israeli official as saying there would be a "significant response" to the attack.

Iran has vowed retaliation for what it called an Israeli strike on its Damascus consulate on April 1 that killed seven Guards officers including two senior commanders and said its strike was a punishment for "Israeli crimes". Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the consulate attack.

"Should the Israeli regime make another mistake, Iran's response will be considerably more severe," the Iranian mission to the United Nations said, warning the U.S. to "stay away". However, it also said Iran now "deemed the matter concluded".

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned Iran's attack, and said he was "deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation."

US President Joe Biden, who on Friday had warned Iran against an attack, cut short a visit to his home state of Delaware to meet national security advisers in the White House Situation Room, an official said. He pledged to stand with Israel.

"Our commitment to Israel's security against threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad," he said on X after the meeting.

The Gaza war between Israel and Hamas, now in its seventh month, has driven up tensions in the region, spreading to fronts with Lebanon and Syria and drawing long-range fire at Israeli targets from as far away as Yemen and Iraq.

British maritime security company Ambrey said in a statement that drones were also reportedly launched against Israel by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group.

Those clashes now threaten to morph into a direct open conflict pitting Iran and its regional allies against Israel and its main supporter the United States, with regional power Egypt urging "utmost restraint".

While Israel and Iran have been bitter foes for decades, their long feud has mostly unfolded via proxies or by targeting each other's forces operating in third countries.

US and British warplanes were involved in shooting down some Israel-bound drones over the Iraq-Syria border area, Channel 12 reported. Three U.S. officials said the U.S. military had shot down drone aircraft without saying how many. 

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