Escalation in the Shadow War: Iran Launches Drones and Missiles at Israel
Escalation in the Shadow War: Iran Launches Drones and Missiles at Israel

Jerusalem: Iran launched drones and missiles at Israel directly from its territory on Sunday, marking a major escalation in the shadow war between the two nations. Israel's military stated that more than 100 drones were launched from Iran, with security sources in Iraq and Jordan reporting dozens seen flying overhead.

US President Joe Biden said America assisted Israel in taking down "nearly all of the incoming drones and missiles", according to the White House. His statement came after Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a phone conversation following the Iranian attack. Netanyahu emphasized Israel's principle of retaliation, stating, "whoever harms us, we will harm them," and added, "We will defend ourselves against any threat and will do so level-headedly and with determination."

The Israeli military reported that over 100 explosive drones have been launched by Iran so far. Two security sources in Iraq said dozens of drones had been spotted flying from Iran towards Israel over Iraqi airspace in what Iranian Press TV called "extensive drone strikes" by the Revolutionary Guards.

Iranian Defence Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani warned that Tehran will firmly respond to any country that "opens its airspace or territory for attacks on Iran by Israel".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened the Israeli war cabinet at military headquarters in Tel Aviv after the Iranian attack. In a statement, he assured Israelis that all defensive systems are "deployed" and that Israel is "ready for any scenario, both defensively and offensively". He also thanked the US, the UK, France, and other nations for their support.

A senior Israeli official vowed an "unprecedented response" to Iran's attack, urging Israelis not to go to bed due to what was coming Tehran's way. British military aircraft downed some Iranian drones over the Iraq-Syria border areas, Israel's Channel 12 TV reported. Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak issued a statement condemning Iran's "reckless attack on Israel" in the "strongest terms".

"The UK will continue to stand up for Israel's security and that all of our regional partners, including Jordan and Iraq," Sunak added.

Joe Biden commended Israel's "remarkable capacity" to defend its security after the Iranian attack, telling Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu that it sent "a clear message to its foes that they cannot effectively threaten the security of Israel". He also renewed "ironclad commitment" to Israel and said he will convene a G7 meeting on Monday to "coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack".

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards warned the US government of any "support and participation" in harming Tehran's interests, saying it will result in a "decisive and regretful response".

Iran said it launched ballistic missiles at targets inside Israel, state-run IRNA news agency reported, quoting an anonymous official. Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah said it fired rockets at Israeli-annexed Golan, news agency AFP reported. Additionally, Yemen's Houthi rebels launched multiple drones at Israel in coordination with Iran, AFP reported.

The US, UK, Germany, Argentina and France, among other nations, have condemned the Iranian attack on Israel. India has called for immediate de-escalation and exercising of restraint. The reactions came as the United Nations Security Council is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting on Sunday on the situation.

The Israel Defense Forces' Home Front Command lifted orders for Israelis to stay near safe rooms, indicating the threat pertaining to Iran's drone and missile attack was over for now. However, restrictions on gatherings and the cancellation of all educational activities and school trips remain in force, the Times of Israel reported.

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