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Iran launched hundreds of drones and rockets at Israel in a large-scale attack

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Israel’s air defense system stops Iranian rockets over central Israel. Iran launched a large-scale attack on Israel on Saturday evening and overnight into Sunday with hundreds of rockets and drones. The attack is the first directly against Israel after well over 40 years as enemies. Photo: Tomer Neuberg / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 14.04.2024 06:03:03

War and conflicts: – A short time ago, Iran sent unmanned aerial vehicles from its territory towards Israel, said IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari shortly after 10 pm Norwegian time on Saturday.

Anti-aircraft sirens were heard in a large number of places, among them the north of Israel, the south of the country, the north of the occupied West Bank and at the Dead Sea near the border with Jordan. Residents of the occupied Golan Heights, which border Syria and Lebanon, were ordered to seek refuge.

So did the inhabitants of the cities of Nevatim, Dimona and Eilat in the south. There were loud bangs over Jerusalem.

The IDF informs the Israeli newspaper Haaretz Sunday morning that more than 300 rockets and drones were sent. In the past they have referred to it as a “swarm of killer drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles”.

Israel reports a seriously injured seven-year-old girl and damage to a military facility. Hundreds of drones are said to have been shot down with the help of the US, UK and Jordan.

When asked if Israel would respond to the attack, Hagari replied on Saturday evening that the military “does and will continue to do whatever is necessary to safeguard the security of the State of Israel”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu previously warned that “those who harm us, we will harm”.

The attack comes as a “response to the recent crimes of the Zionist regime”, says a statement from the Revolutionary Guards quoted by the German news agency DPA.

Iran has vowed to retaliate for what it believes was an Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1, in which seven members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard were killed.

There they shouted “death to Israel!” and “Death to the United States!” shortly after the Revolutionary Guard’s announcement that the attack was under way.

Others waved Iranian and Palestinian flags. There were also demonstrations in Iran’s third largest city Isfahan and in Kherman in the south of the country. One of the generals killed in the Damascus attack is buried in Isfahan, while Qasem Soleimani, the former leader of the elite Revolutionary Guards, is buried in Kherman. Soleimani was killed in an American attack in Baghdad in 2020.

“The United States stands with the Israeli people and supports their defense against these Iranian attacks,” the White House said in a statement.

Netanyahu assembled his war cabinet on Saturday, before speaking to US President Joe Biden by phone.

After the conversation, Biden condemned the attacks in the strongest terms, and he warns that he will call in the other leaders of the G7 countries to coordinate a joint response with them.

– I have just spoken to Prime Minister Netanyahu to emphasize the United States’ unbreakable commitment to Israel’s security, says Biden in a statement. Furthermore, he praises Israel for having “demonstrated a remarkable ability” to repel attacks.

– Tomorrow I will gather my joint G7 leaders to coordinate a joint diplomatic response to Iran’s terrible attack, he says further.

Lebanon’s state news agency reports heavy Israeli airstrikes against several areas in southern Lebanon after the Iranian drone attack. Hezbollah reports having sent “several tens” of rockets towards the Golan Heights. The extent of the damage is unclear.

AFP further quotes the security company Ambrey as saying that the Houthis sent drones against Israel, and that this is coordinated with Iran. They were probably sent to reach Israel at the same time, and Israeli ports are considered possible targets, it says.

AFP further reproduces a message from the Iranian news agency that the attack is “complex” and involves Iranian allies in Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq. Furthermore, it says that “the attack did not just come from Iran, the regime was punished from four directions”.

Iran supports both groups. The Houthi rebels have been behind a long series of attacks against shipping in the Red Sea, which they say is in solidarity with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

– The Iranian attack poses a serious threat to global peace and security, and I expect the Security Council to use all available instruments to take concrete action against Iran, writes Israel’s UN ambassador Gilad Erdan on X.

The meeting will take place at 4 pm local time, i.e. at 10 pm Norwegian time on Sunday evening.

– This will further worsen an already extremely unstable situation. We must prevent further escalation of the violence in the Middle East, writes Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide (Ap) on X.

He describes the attack as “illegal and dangerous” and asks all parties to “exercise maximum restraint”.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell says that the Union “strongly condemns the unacceptable Iranian attack on Israel”.

– This is an unprecedented escalation and a serious threat to security in the region.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres says he is deeply concerned about the danger of a “catastrophic regional escalation”. Furthermore, Guterres urges the parties to exercise maximum restraint to avoid “any action that could lead to large-scale military confrontations on multiple fronts in the Middle East”.

– I have repeatedly stressed that neither the region nor the world can afford another war, he says.

Hagari describes the attack as a “serious and dangerous escalation”. Among other things, Iran sent ballistic missiles at targets inside Israel, but according to the IDF, the extent of damage after the attack is relatively small.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards told state media that they fired dozens of drones and missiles at “specific targets” in Israel. The attack is the first full-scale attack on Israel by Iran, despite decades of enmity since the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979.

Thousands gathered in Iran’s capital Tehran to show their support after the attack against the arch-enemy, reports AFP.

Biden cut short a trip to his hometown of Delaware as fears of an attack grew, and news that it was underway came while he was in a helicopter en route to Washington. There, on Saturday evening, he assembled his national security council for a crisis meeting with, among others, Defense Minister Lloyd Austin, Foreign Minister Antony Blinken and CIA chief Bill Burns.

Both the Houthis in Yemen and the Lebanese Hezbollah were involved in the Iranian attack against Israel on the night of Sunday.

Israel has requested an urgent meeting of the Security Council about the attack. The country wants a condemnation of Iran’s attack, and that the Revolutionary Guard be defined as a terrorist organisation.

Several condemn the attack, including Great Britain, France, Denmark, the EU and Norway.

(© NTB)

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