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Iran launches drone attack on Israel

Photo: Atta Kenare Agence France-Presse Protesters outside the British Embassy in Tehran. With cries of “Death to Israel”, “Death to America”, a few thousand people gathered in the main cities of Iran to greet the Iranian attack.

Gaël Branchereau – Agence France-Presse and Sophie Makris – Agence France-Presse in Jerusalem

10:43 p.m.

  • Middle East

Iran launched more than 200 drones and missiles against Israel overnight from Saturday to Sunday in response to a strike against its consulate in Damascus, the first direct attack ever carried out by the Islamic Republic against Israeli territory.

At the same time, Iran's allies, Lebanese Hezbollah and Yemeni Houthi rebels, carried out anti-Israeli attacks, the former firing rockets into the Israeli-occupied Golan, and the latter by launching drones towards Israeli territory.

An emergency Security Council meeting is scheduled for Sunday, after UN chief Antonio Guterres condemned “a serious escalation.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose army is engaged in a devastating war in the Gaza Strip, spoke by telephone with US President Joe Biden following 'a meeting of the Israeli war cabinet, the prime minister's office said.

Shortly before, upon the announcement of the Iranian attack, Mr. Biden reiterated the “unwavering commitment” of the United States “to the security” of the Israeli ally.

Claiming around 3:20 a.m. local time Sunday that the Iranian attack was still underway, the Israeli military said Iran had “launched a swarm of 200 killer drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles,” of which “the vast majority” were intercepted.

“Iranian missiles fell in Israeli territory, causing minor damage to a military base but causing no casualties,” said army spokesman Daniel Hagari.

For its part, the official Iranian agency Irna reported “serious damage in the most important air base in the Negev (south)”.

While Iran has asked Washington to “stay away” from the conflict, US forces in the region have shot down Iranian drones targeting Israel, a US official said.

The sky dotted with red lights

Shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday morning, a series of detonations froze Jerusalem. The sky was punctuated with red and yellow lights filmed by AFP and by many residents who shared the images on social networks.

“The streets are empty, everyone is hurrying home,” Eliyahu Baraka, a merchant in the city center, told AFP.

Striking images of projectiles grazing the emblematic golden dome of the Dome of the Rock, on one of the holiest sites in Islam, in the heart of the old city, are circling the platforms.

Alert sirens sounded in Jerusalem, according to AFP journalists, as well as in the Negev region and the north of the country.

About an hour after the announcement of the launch of the Iranian operation, called “Honest Promise”, the Irna agency indicated that “a first wave of ballistic missiles” had been launched “in depth » of Israeli territory.

“The Revolutionary Guards air force fired dozens of missiles and drones at specific targets,” according to state television citing the Guards, Iran's ideological army.< /p>

This attack was in response to the April 1 strike that destroyed the Iranian consulate in Damascus and cost the lives of two senior Guards officers, they said. Iran accused Israel of this strike, but the latter neither confirmed nor denied.

In announcing the Iranian attack shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday, Daniel Hagari said, “We are closely monitoring the killer drones sent by Iran and en route to Israel.”

He denounced this “direct attack launched from Iranian soil” as a “dangerous escalation”.

More “drone waves” targeting Israel are possible, an Israeli military official has warned.

“Stay away! »

Israel closed its airspace at 12:30 a.m. local Sunday. Schools will be closed on Sunday, the first day of the week in Israel, and Monday.

“This is a conflict between Iran and the rogue Israeli regime, which the United States MUST STAY AWAY FROM!” “, declared the Iranian mission to the UN in a message posted on X.

“The case can be considered closed. However, if the Israeli regime makes another mistake, Iran's response would be considerably more severe,” she warned.

With cries of “Death to Israel”, “Death to America”, a few thousand people gathered in the main cities of Iran to greet the Iranian attack.

“Devilish Diet”

Right after the operation began, the X account of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei posted a message saying: “the evil regime will be punished.”< /p>

Jordan and Lebanon, neighbors of Israel, have announced the closure of their airspace, as has Iraq, which borders Iran. Also neighboring Israel, Egypt announced that it was putting its air defenses on high alert.

The British government said it was sending additional fighter jets to the Middle East and would intercept “any air attack within range of our existing missions, if necessary.”

Paris condemned the Iranian attack and Berlin said it could plunge the region “into chaos.”

War in Gaza

Earlier Saturday, Revolutionary Guard maritime special forces seized a ship accused of being “linked” to Israel, with 25 crew members on board, in Gulf waters.

The Islamic Republic of Iran does not recognize the existence of Israel and is an ally of Hamas, which seized power in Gaza in 2007 and is listed as a terrorist group by the United States and the 'European Union. The Palestinian movement is the author of the unprecedented attack on Israeli soil which provoked a devastating Israeli offensive in Gaza, where 33,686 people, mainly civilians, died, according to the authorities.

The Israeli army continued its war in the Gaza Strip, which it has besieged since October 9, and where the majority of its 2.4 million inhabitants are threatened with famine according to the UN.

On October 7, Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza carried out an attack in southern Israel, resulting in the deaths of 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to a toll established by the AFP based on official data. More than 250 people have been kidnapped and 129 remain detained in Gaza, 34 of whom have died, according to Israeli officials.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116