Israel hails ‘success’ in blocking Iran’s unprecedented attack, US to not participate in any offensive action : The Tribune India

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Israel hails ‘success’ in blocking Iran’s unprecedented attack, US to not participate in any offensive action

Iran has warned that ‘any new adventures against its interests would be met with a heavier and regretful response’

Israel hails ‘success’ in blocking Iran’s unprecedented attack, US to not participate in any offensive action

An anti-missile system operates after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel, on April 14, 2024. Reuters


Tel Aviv, April 14

Israel on Sunday hailed its air defences in the face of an unprecedented attack by Iran, saying the systems thwarted 99 per cent of the more than 300 drones and missiles launched toward its territory.

Regional tensions were high amid fears of an Israeli counter-strike that could fuel further escalation.

US President Joe Biden said he would convene a meeting Sunday of the Group of Seven advanced democracies “to coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran's brazen attack.”

The US made clear it would not participate in any offensive action against Iran.

“We don't seek a war with Iran. We're not looking for escalation here,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby told NBC.

Iran launched the attack in response to a strike widely blamed on Israel that hit an Iranian consular building in Syria earlier this month and killed two Iranian generals. Israel said Iran launched 170 drones, more than 30 cruise missiles and more than 120 ballistic missiles.

By Sunday morning, Iran said the attack was over, and Israel reopened its airspace.

“We will build a regional coalition and collect the price from Iran, in the way and at the time that suits us,” said a key member of Israel's War Cabinet, Benny Gantz.

The two foes have for years been engaged in a shadow war marked by attacks such as the Damascus strike. But Sunday’s assault, which set off air-raid sirens across Israel, was the first time Iran has launched a direct military assault on Israel, despite decades of enmity dating back to the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution.         

Israel has over the years established — often with the help of the United States — a multi-layered air-defence network that includes systems capable of intercepting a variety of threats, including long-range missiles, cruise missiles, drones and short-range rockets.

That system, along with collaboration with the US and others, helped thwart what could have been a far more devastating assault at a time when Israel is already bogged down in its war against Hamas in Gaza and engaged in low-level fighting on its northern border with Lebanon's Hezbollah militia.

Both Hamas and Hezbollah are backed by Iran.

Israeli and US officials praised the response to the aerial assault.

“Iran launched more than 300 threats and 99 per cent were intercepted,” said Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military spokesman. “That is a success.”

Asked if Israel would respond, Hagari said the country would do what was needed to protect its citizens.

Hagari said none of the drones and cruise missiles reached Israel and that only a few ballistic missiles got through. Of the cruise missiles, 25 were shot down by the Israeli air force, he said.

Hagari said minor damage was caused to an Israeli airbase, but he said it was still functioning. Rescuers said a 7-year-old girl was seriously wounded in southern Israel, apparently in a missile strike, though police were still investigating the circumstances.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a message on X: “We intercepted. We blocked. Together, we will win.”

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant thanked the US and other countries for their assistance.

Schools remained closed around Israel, and traffic on the first day of the workweek was lighter than usual as many people stayed home.

Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, the chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, said the operation was over, the state-run IRNA news agency reported. “We have no intention of continuing the operation against Israel,” he was quoted as saying.

Iran said it targeted Israeli facilities involved in the Damascus strike.

Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, claimed Iran had taught Israel a lesson and warned that “any new adventures against the interests of the Iranian nation would be met with a heavier and regretful response from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard issued a new threat against the US. “The terrorist US government is warned any support or participation in harming Iran's interests will be followed by decisive and regretting response by Iran's armed forces,” said a statement carried by IRNA.

Israel may be particularly proud of the success of its defence because it stands in sharp contrast to the failures it endured during Hamas' attack on October 7.

Facing a far less powerful enemy in Hamas, Israel's border defences collapsed, and the military took days to repel the marauding militants — an embarrassing defeat for the Middle East's strongest and best-equipped army.

While thwarting the Iranian onslaught could help restore Israel's image, what it does next will be closely watched in the region and in Western capitals.

In Washington, Biden said US forces helped Israel down “nearly all” the drones and missiles and pledged to convene allies to develop a unified response.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Britain's air force shot down a number of Iranian drones.

Biden spoke with Netanyahu later in the day. “I told him that Israel demonstrated a remarkable capacity to defend against and defeat even unprecedented attacks — sending a clear message to its foes that they cannot effectively threaten the security of Israel,” Biden said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US would hold talks with allies in the coming days. The US, along with allies, has sent direct messages to Tehran to warn against escalating the conflict.

Leaders from the G7 were scheduled to hold a video conference Sunday afternoon, according to Italy, which holds the presidency of the group of developed countries.

The group includes the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, and Canada.

Israel and Iran have been on a collision course throughout Israel's six-month war against Hamas militants in Gaza.

In the October 7 attack, militants from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, also backed by Iran, killed 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped 250 others. An Israeli offensive in Gaza has caused widespread devastation and killed over 33,000 people, according to local health officials.

In other developments, negotiations meant to bring about a cease-fire in exchange for the release of the hostages appeared to hit a setback Sunday.

Netanyahu's office said Hamas rejected the latest proposal for a deal, which had been presented to Hamas a week ago by mediators Qatar, Egypt and the United States.

A Hamas official said the group wants a “clear written commitment” that Israel will withdraw from Gaza during the second of a three-phase cease-fire deal.

The deal presented to the sides calls for a six-week cease-fire in Gaza, during which Hamas would release 40 of the more than 100 hostages the group is holding in the enclave in exchange for 900 Palestinian prisoners from Israel's jails, including 100 serving long sentences for serious crimes.

Hamas welcomed Iran's attack, saying it was “a natural right and a deserved response” to the strike in Syria. It urged the Iran-backed groups in the region to continue to support Hamas in the war against Israel.

Almost immediately after the war erupted, Hezbollah began attacking Israel's northern border. The two sides have been involved in daily exchanges of fire, while Iranian-backed groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen have launched rockets and missiles toward Israel.

22:36 14 Apr
Jordan's King Abdullah in call with US President Joe Biden on Israel

Abdullah told Biden that any further escalation from Israel would widen the conflict in the region, Jordanian state media reported.

20:01 14 Apr
Joe Biden tells Netanyahu US would not take part in offensive response against Iran
17:41 14 Apr
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy condemns Iranian attack on Israel

Zelenskiy called for efforts to prevent a further escalation in Middle East conflict.

"Iran's actions threaten the entire region and the world, just as Russia's actions threaten a larger conflict, and the obvious collaboration between the two regimes in spreading terror must face a resolute and united response from the world," he wrote on X.

17:22 14 Apr
British military jets shot down Iranian drones: PM Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak also called for “calm heads to prevail” to avoid an escalation of the conflict.

16:53 14 Apr
Singapore condemns Iranian attack on Israel; Singapore Airlines and budget carrier Scoot not flying over Iranian airspace 
15:31 14 Apr
Jordan PM Bisher Khasawneh says escalation in region would lead to 'dangerous paths'
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Iran warns Israel and US against retaliation

DUBAI: Iran warned Israel on Sunday of a larger attack on its territory should it retaliate against Tehran's overnight drone and missile attack, adding that US bases would be targeted if Washington backs any Israeli military action against Iran.

13:36 14 Apr
The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas says Iran's attack on Israel was 'natural right'
10:48 14 Apr
Israel closes schools, educational institutions in wake of Iran's airstrikes
10:39 14 Apr
‘Iran's response will be stronger, more resolute if Israel attacks again’: Iran writes letter to UN
09:46 14 Apr
Sirens, explosions heard throughout Israel; TV shows interceptions

JERUSALEM: Israel's military said it was sounding sirens in locations throughout the country early on Sunday and a Reuters witness in Jerusalem heard explosions from what local TV showed were aerial interceptions of drones launched by Iran.

09:45 14 Apr
Israel calls for emergency UNSC meet as Iran strikes its territory
09:45 14 Apr
Iran warns Jordan over any moves to support Israel, Iran's Fars news agency says
09:44 14 Apr
Jordan Air Force shoots down Iranian drones flying over to Israel
09:17 14 Apr
Iran launched more than 200 drones, missiles in ongoing salvo

Jerusalem: Iran has launched more than 200 drones and missiles at Israel since Saturday, the Israeli military said, describing many of the incoming threats as having been intercepted away from Israel's borders but adding that the salvo was ongoing.


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