Iran launches missile strikes on Israel

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says it has launched “extensive” retaliatory missile and drone strikes against Israel in response to Tel Aviv’s April 1 attack against the Islamic Republic’s diplomatic premises in the Syrian capital Damascus.

At least seven members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were killed, including two top generals, in a missile attack on the Iranian Consulate in Damascus, Syria, on April 1. Tehran has blamed Israel for the attack.

“In response to the Zionist regime’s numerous crimes, including the attack on the consular section of Iran’s Embassy in Damascus and the martyrdom of a number of our country’s commanders and military advisors in Syria, the IRGC’s Aerospace Division launched tens of missiles and drones against certain targets inside the occupied territories,” a statement on Saturday evening read.

Iran’s Defence Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani also warned that “Whatever country that could open its soil or airspace to Israel for a [potential] attack on Iran, will receive our decisive response.”

Iran said that it had sent a “necessary warning” to the U.S. over its retaliatory attack on Israel.

“The terrorist attack carried out by the Israeli regime on the Iranian Consulate in Damascus, and its violation of international law and Vienna conventions, has been put on the agenda,” Amir-Abdollahian added.

“I explained our country’s position and emphasised that the necessary warning has been directed to the U.S.,” he continued.

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The Israeli army also confirmed that Iran launched dozens of drones towards Israel amid escalating tensions between the two rivals following last week’s attack on the Iranian Consulate in Syria.

An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) statement said: “A short while ago, Iran launched UAVs from within its territory toward Israel. The IDF is on high alert and is constantly monitoring the operational situation.

“The IDF Aerial Defense Array is on high alert, along with IAF fighter jets and Israeli Navy vessels that are on a defense mission in Israeli air and naval space. The IDF is monitoring all targets.

“We ask the public to adhere to and follow the instructions of the Home Front Command and the official IDF announcements regarding the matter.”

In an address to the nation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the military is “ready for any scenario.”

“Citizens of Israel, in recent years, and especially in recent weeks, Israel has been preparing for a direct attack by Iran,” he said.

“Our defensive systems are deployed; we are ready for any scenario, both defensively and offensively. The State of Israel is strong. The IDF is strong. The public is strong.”

He also thanked allies, including the US and UK, for “standing alongside” Israel.

“We have determined a clear principle: Whoever harms us, we will harm them. We will defend ourselves against any threat and will do so level-headedly and with determination.”

He called on Israeli citizens to follow the “directives” of the IDF Home Front Command, adding: “Together we will stand and with God’s help – together we will overcome all of our enemies.”

The White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson also said on Saturday that Iran had begun an airborne attack against Israel,

“This attack is likely to unfold over a number of hours. President Biden has been clear: our support for Israel’s security is ironclad. The United States will stand with the people of Israel and support their defence against these threats from Iran,” Watson said in a statement.

Western countries on late Saturday condemned Iran for its retaliatory attack against Israel.

“Iran has once again demonstrated that its intent on sowing chaos in its own backyard,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement.

He reiterated that London’s persistence to stand up for Tel Aviv’s security “that of all our regional partners, including Jordan and Iraq.”

French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne said “France condemns in the strongest terms the attack launched by Iran against Israel.”

Accusing Iran of taking the risk of a military escalation, he added: “France reaffirms its attachment to Israel’s security and assures it of its solidarity.”

“Alongside our allies, we are urgently working to stabilize the situation and prevent further escalation. No one wants to see more bloodshed,” Sejourne concluded.

In other developments:

  • There are reports that U.S. and British fighters planes have shot down Iranian drones.
  • There are reports that Jordan has opened its airspace to Israeli fighter jets.
  • Lebanon and Egypt said they closed their airspaces following Iran’s drone attacks against Israel.
  • “The Iraqi airspace has been closed, and the air traffic has stopped,” said Transport Minister Razzaq al-Saadawi. Al-Saadawi, however, did not provide details about how long the closure will be in place.

More to follow…


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