Tags: strait of hormuz vessel

Israeli Spokesman: Most Iranian Drones, Missiles Shot Down

Israeli Spokesman: Most Iranian Drones, Missiles Shot Down
(Newsmax)

Saturday, 13 April 2024 11:42 PM EDT

Most of the dozens of ballistic missiles launched by Iran at Israel were intercepted by the Israeli long-range Arrow air defense system, but an Israel military base did suffer slight damage, according to Israel Defense Forces Spokesman Daniel Hagari.

He told members of the press that most of the missiles were downed outside Israeli airspace, but one strike injured a young girl in the Negev and other hits caused "slight damage to infrastructure" at the military base, located in southern Israel, reports The Times of Israel.

The girl, a 7-year-old from a Bedouin town near Arad, was listed in serious condition at a hospital in Beersheba. Medics said she was hit by shrapnel after one of the weapons was intercepted.

No other injuries were reported.

Meanwhile, Hagari said fighter jets also downed dozens of cruise missiles and drones. Earlier reports said U.S. and U.K. fighter jets were among those bridging down the weapons.

Overall, Hagari said, Iran launched more than 200 projectiles. They included more than 10 cruise missiles, he said.

The incident is not over, Hagari said.

It was Iran's first ever direct attack on Israeli territory, risking a major escalation as the United States pledged "ironclad" backing for Israel.

Sirens wailed and Reuters journalists in Israel said they heard distant heavy thuds and bangs from what local media called aerial interceptions of explosive drones. Authorities said a 7-year-old girl was critically injured.

Israel's Channel 12 TV cited an unnamed Israeli official as saying there would be a "significant response" to the attack.

Iran has vowed retaliation for what it called an Israeli strike on its Damascus consulate on April 1 that killed seven Guards officers including two senior commanders and said its strike was a punishment for "Israeli crimes." Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the consulate attack.

"Should the Israeli regime make another mistake, Iran's response will be considerably more severe," the Iranian mission to the United Nations said, warning the U.S. to "stay away." However, it also said Iran now "deemed the matter concluded."

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned Iran's attack, and said he was "deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation."

U.S. President Joe Biden, who on Friday had warned Iran against an attack, cut short a visit to his home state of Delaware to meet national security advisers in the White House Situation Room, an official said. He pledged to stand with Israel.

"Our commitment to Israel’s security against threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad," he said on X after the meeting.

The Gaza war between Israel and Hamas, now in its seventh month, has driven up tensions in the region, spreading to fronts with Lebanon and Syria and drawing long-range fire at Israeli targets from as far away as Yemen and Iraq.

British maritime security company Ambrey said in a statement that drones were also reportedly launched against Israel by Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group.

Those clashes now threaten to morph into a direct open conflict pitting Iran and its regional allies against Israel and its main supporter the United States, with regional power Egypt urging "utmost restraint."

While Israel and Iran have been bitter foes for decades, their long feud has mostly unfolded via proxies or by targeting each other's forces operating in third countries.

U.S. and British warplanes were involved in shooting down some Israel-bound drones over the Iraq-Syria border area, Channel 12 reported. Three U.S. officials said the U.S. military had shot down drone aircraft without saying how many.

ESCALATION

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose official jet took off shortly after the attack began, convened the war cabinet at a military headquarters in Tel Aviv, his office said.

Israel's military said sirens would sound in any threatened areas and that its defenses were poised to deal with the drones, which it said were "explosive."

"We are used to having around 20 seconds to get to shelters when missiles come in. Here, the warning comes hours ahead of time. It naturally raises the anxiety level among the Israeli public," said Nir Dvori, a Channel 12 TV correspondent on social media.

Israel's military told residents of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights to stay close to bomb shelters, putting the area on standby for possible impact from drone strikes.

Israel and Lebanon said they were closing their airspace on Saturday night. Jordan, which lies between Iran and Israel, had readied air defenses to intercept any drone or missile that violated its territory, two regional security sources said.

Residents in several Jordanian cities said they heard heavy aerial activity.

Syria, an ally of Iran, said it was putting its ground-to-air defense systems around the capital and major bases on high alert, army sources there said.

CONDEMNATION

The European Union, Britain, France, Mexico, Czechia, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands all condemned Iran's attack.

Israel has been bracing for an Iranian response to the Damascus consulate strike since last week, when Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Israel "must be punished and shall be" for an operation he called equivalent to one on Iranian soil.

Biden said on Friday that his only message to Iran was "Don't," but added that "we are devoted to the defense of Israel."

Iran's main ally in the region, the Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah that has been exchanging fire with Israel since the Gaza war began on Oct. 7, said early on Sunday it had fired rockets at an Israeli base.

Earlier on Saturday, Iran's state-run IRNA news agency reported that a Guards helicopter had boarded and taken into Iranian waters the Portuguese-flagged MSC Aries.

MSC, which operates the Aries, confirmed Iran had seized the ship and said it was working "with the relevant authorities" for its safe return and the wellbeing of its 25 crew.

MSC leases the Aries from Gortal Shipping, an affiliate of Zodiac Maritime, Zodiac said in a statement, adding that MSC is responsible for all the vessel's activities. Zodiac is partly owned by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz accused Iran of piracy.

Newsmax staffer Sandy Fitzgerald contributed.

© 2024 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


GlobalTalk
Iran launched a swarm of explosive drones and fired missiles at Israel late on Saturday in its first ever direct attack on Israeli territory, risking a major escalation as the United States pledged "ironclad" backing for Israel.Sirens wailed and Reuters journalists in...
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Saturday, 13 April 2024 11:42 PM
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