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Source: NY Times

Apr 14, 2024

Iran Fires Over 200 Drones and Missiles at Israel in Retaliatory Strike

Israel said that with assistance from its allies, most were intercepted

By Aaron BoxermanRonen BergmanFarnaz Fassihi and Eric Schmitt

Here are the latest developments.

Sirens sounded across Israel and the booms of air-defense rockets could be heard in the skies over Jerusalem after Iran launched a broad aerial attack on Israel on Saturday in retaliation for a deadly Israeli airstrike in early April.

As the Israeli air-defense systems went into action to intercept dozens of drones and missiles, a Pentagon official confirmed United States forces were helping to shoot down some of them. Britain’s defense secretary said its jets would also intercept airborne attacks.

The large-scale attack aimed at targets inside Israel and the territory it controls opened a volatile new chapter in the long-running shadow war between Iran and Israel, marking a significant escalation in hostilities between the two regional foes.

Just before 2 a.m. local time on Sunday, air-raid sirens sounded across vast swaths of southern Israel, the West Bank and Golan Heights, indicating either missiles or enemy aircraft overhead. The government also sent out warnings about possible missiles arriving in the Negev Desert, where there are several military bases.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps said in a statement broadcast on state television that it had launched “dozens of drones and missiles” toward Israel from Iran “in reaction to the Zionist regime’s crimes.”

Israeli intelligence confirmed that dozens of drones and cruise missiles were heading toward Israel from Iran and Iraq, according to two Israeli officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss military intelligence.

They were expected to hit targets in the Golan Heights and an Israeli air force base in the Negev Desert, the officials said.

Iran’s action on Saturday came after a week of diplomacy and conflicting reports about how far Tehran would go in response to the Damascus attack, and whether it would risk starting an outright war with Israel.

The White House vowed to help Israel defend itself. President Biden cut short a weekend at his vacation home in Delaware to return to the White House and huddle with his national security team.

“Our support for Israel’s security is ironclad,” said Adrienne Watson, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council. “The United States will stand with the people of Israel and support their defense against these threats from Iran.”

One Defense Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss operational matters, said U.S. forces were helping to shoot down Iranian drones, without providing details.

Senior Iranian officials and military commanders had pledged to retaliate since the Israeli airstrike in Damascus on April 1. Seven Iranian officers, including three top commanders, were killed in the strike, inciting Iranian vows to avenge the deaths.

  • Current and former American officials said it is likely that Iran will try to synchronize the drone attack with faster moving missiles, which would be launched later. The slow moving drones, the former official said, could be used to distract Israeli defenses.

  • The Israeli military spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said in a televised briefing that Israeli forces were tracking the drones, which they were expected to try to intercept. President Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel was meeting with his war cabinet, according to a statement from his office.

  • The Israeli military said on Saturday that all schools would be closed across the country and gatherings of more than 1,000 people limited. The military said the restrictions would go into effect from 11 p.m. Saturday local time and last until 11 p.m. Monday.

8:19 p.m. ET11 minutes ago

Patrick Kingsley

Jerusalem bureau chief

The Iranian strikes caused minor damage to an Israeli military base, Israel’s chief military spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said in a press briefing. Admiral Hagari did not name the base, but added that Iran had fired over 200 drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles, the vast majority of which had been intercepted by Israel with “some assistance” from its allies. “Only one little girl has been hurt,” he added, without giving further information.

Admiral Hagari said that Israel was continuing to intercept drones and missiles, and that some of those interceptions had occurred outside of Israel’s airspace.

There have been no air-raid warnings inside Israel for more than an hour.

April 13, 2024, 8:07 p.m. ET22 minutes ago

22 minutes ago

Michael Gold

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, at a rally in Pennsylvania Saturday evening expressed support to Israel, then effectively blamed Biden for the Iran attack. “God bless the people of Israel, they’re under attack right now,” he said. “That’s because we show great weakness."

April 13, 2024, 8:05 p.m. ET24 minutes ago

24 minutes ago

Farnaz Fassihi

Antonio Guterres, the secretary general of the United Nations, called for an immediate de-esclation in the Middle East and said in a statement, “I strongly condemn the serious escalation represented by the large-scale attack launched on Israel by the Islamic Republic of Iran this evening.”

He said the region was at risk of plunging into a deeper and wider war on multiple fronts. “I have repeatedly stressed that neither the region nor the world can afford another war.”

April 13, 2024, 8:00 p.m. ET31 minutes ago

31 minutes ago

Farnaz Fassihi

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps issued a second statement warning the United States against supporting Israel. It said, “We warn the United States terrorist government that any support or participation in attacking Iran’s interests will have a fierce response from Iran’s Armed Forces.”

36 minutes ago

Adam Rasgon

Several aircraft or missiles appear to have been intercepted in the skies above Jordan, an Arab state that lies between Iran and Israel, according to a video sent to The New York Times by Ahmed Al Hourani, a resident of Amman, the Jordanian capital. The video shows several flashes in the skies around Amman at around 1:50 a.m., roughly the time that a barrage of interceptions were also heard above Israel.

45 minutes ago

Michael D. Shear

President Biden posted on social media: “I just met with my national security team for an update on Iran’s attacks against Israel. Our commitment to Israel’s security against threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad.”

47 minutes ago

Aaron Boxerman

Reporting from Jerusalem

Zaki Heller, a spokesman for Magen David Adom, said by phone that medics were now treating a 10-year-old girl in serious condition in the Negev Desert. He was believed to have been been wounded by shrapnel from an interceptor, Heller said, saying there were no other reports of serious injuries.

59 minutes ago

Gaya Gupta

Britain’s defense secretary, Grant Shapps, said in a statement that additional British jets and air refueling tankers have been deployed to bolster its existing operations in Iraq and Syria, and its jets will "intercept" airborne attacks within range of its missions there.

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