Log In


Reset Password
  • MENU
    Nation
    Sunday, May 19, 2024

    Israel says 99% of drones and missiles launched by Iran were intercepted

    A demonstrator waves Iranian and Palestinian flags during an anti-Israeli gathering at the Felestin (Palestine) Square in Tehran, Iran, early Sunday, April 14, 2024. Iran launched its first direct military attack against Israel Saturday. The Israeli military says Iran fired more than 100 bomb-carrying drones toward Israel. Hours later, Iran announced it had also launched much more destructive ballistic missiles. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

    Israel praised the success of its defenses in the face of an unprecedented attack by Iran involving hundreds of drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles while tensions ran high over a possible Israeli counter-strike.

    An Israeli military spokesman said Sunday the launches numbered more than 300, but 99% of them were intercepted. Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Iran fired 170 drones, more than 30 cruise missiles and more than 120 ballistic missiles. Several ballistic missiles reached Israeli territory, causing minor damage to an air base.

    The Iranian attack on Saturday, less than two weeks after a suspected Israeli strike in Syria that killed two Iranian generals in an Iranian consular building, marked 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 and Iran have been on a collision course throughout Israel’s six-month war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. The war erupted after Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two militant groups backed by Iran, carried out a devastating cross-border attack on Oct. 7 that 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.

    Currently:

    Iran’s attack on Israel raised fears of a wider war, but all sides in the conflict also scored gains.

    US helps Israel shoot down ‘nearly all’ Iran-launched attack drones as Biden vows support.

    — President Joe Biden cut short a weekend stay at his Delaware beach house to meet with his national security team and monitor the situation in the Middle East as Iran launched an attack against Israel.

    — Israel has a multilayered air-defense system. It faces a big test with the Iranian drone strike.

    Here is the latest:

    ZELENSKYY CONDEMNS IRAN'S ATTACK

    KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned Iran’s attack on Israel, drawing parallels to the war ravaging his own country where Russia has also used Iran-made drones.

    “We in Ukraine know very well the horror of similar attacks by Russia, which uses the same Shahed drones and Russian missiles, the same tactics of mass air strikes," he said.

    “Every effort must be made to prevent a further escalation in the Middle East. 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 said in a post on X.

    “It is critical that the United States Congress make the necessary decisions to strengthen America’s allies at this critical time,” Zelenskyy said.

    SUNAK SAYS UK SHOT DOWN A NUMBER OF IRANIAN DRONES

    LONDON — British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has confirmed that U.K. military jets shot down “a number of Iranian attack drones" during an attack on Israel.

    Sunak says the Royal Air Force sent additional planes to the Middle East to help intercept airborne strikes after Tehran announced it had launched an assault on Saturday.

    “It’s clear that Iran is determined to sow discontent and destabilize the region, its own backyard,” Sunak told the BBC on Sunday. “If this attack had been successful, the fallout for regional security would be hard to overstate.”

    Sunak is expected to hold an urgent call with U.S. President Joe Biden and other Group of Seven leaders later Sunday.

    GERMANY SAYS IRANIAN ATTACK BRINGS THE REGION TO THE BRINK

    BERLIN — German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock says the Iranian attack on Israel had brought the region “to the edge of the abyss.”

    “With its aggressive behaviour, with which it wants to destabilize a whole region, Iran is isolated. And Israel’s capabilities have shown that Israel is strong, Israel can defend itself,” Baerbock said in Berlin.

    “I call on all actors in the region to act prudently. The escalatory spiral must be broken. We must together find a way to end the violence,” Baerbock said.

    She said Germany and its allies were discussing “consequences” following the Iranian attack, without elaborating.

    German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, speaking to reporters during a trip to China, said he would take part in a meeting of G7 leaders later Sunday.

    “We will do everything to prevent a further escalation,” Scholz said. “We can only warn everyone, especially Iran, against continuing in this way.”

    Scholz is due to meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang on Tuesday.

    IRAN'S FOREIGN MINISTER REITERATES OPERATION IS OVER

    TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said his country has no intention of continuing the military operation against Israel.

    “At this juncture, the Islamic Republic of Iran has no intention of continuing defensive operations,” he posted on X, and added: "But if necessary, it will not hesitate to protect its legitimate interests against any new aggression.”

    Amirabdollahian called the attack “exercising the right of legitimate defense” and said it shows Iran’s responsible approach to “regional and international peace and security.”

    POPE FRANCIS APPEALS TO IRAN AND ISRAEL TO AVOID A SPIRAL OF VIOLENCE

    VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis urged Iran and Israel in his Sunday’s prayer to avoid new actions that could spark “a spiral of violence” and drag the Middle East deeper into conflict.

    “I follow in prayer and with concern, even pain, the news that came in the last few hours about the aggravation of the situation in Israel, due to the intervention by Iran,” Francis said, addressing pilgrims from the window overlooking St. Peter’s Square.

    The pontiff made another “heartfelt appeal” to immediately stop any action that could further intensify the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

    “No one should threaten the existence of others. Instead, all nations should side with peace and help Israelis and Palestinians to live in two States side by side, in safety,” he added. “Enough war, enough attacks, enough violence. Yes to dialogue, yes to peace."

    The pope has often called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, asking conflicting parties to follow the path of negotiations.

    IRAN SUMMONS 3 EUROPEAN AMBASSADORS OVER CONDEMNATION OF ATTACK ON ISRAEL

    TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's Foreign Ministry on Sunday summoned the ambassadors of the U.K., Germany and France after the three European nations condemned an Iranian attack on Israel.

    The ministry said on its website that the ambassadors were called in over their governments' “irresponsible stances” on the Iranian operation against Israel, which was in retaliation for a strike widely blamed on Israel on an Iranian consular building in Syria earlier this month that killed two Iranian generals.

    RUSSIA EXPRESSES CONCERN FOLLOWING IRAN'S ATTACK ON ISRAEL

    Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its “utmost concern” Sunday following Iranian strikes on Israel.

    It said it hoped that Middle Eastern governments would resolve their problems through political and diplomatic means.

    It also said that Western states had stopped the U.N. Security Council from “adequately responding” to the April 1 strike on Iran’s consulate building in Syria.

    “We have repeatedly warned that unresolved crises throughout the Middle East — primarily in the area of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — are often being fueled by irresponsible and provocative actions and will lead to increased tensions in the area,” the ministry said in a statement.

    IRAN WARNS U.S. AGAINST COOPERATION WITH ISRAEL IN ANY NEW ATTACK

    TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has sent a message to the U.S. warning Washington against cooperation with Israel in any military operation again Tehran following its unprecedented attack on Israel.

    The state-run IRNA news agency quoted Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, the chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, as saying that Tehran had communicated its message to the U.S. through the Swiss Embassy, which handles U.S. interests in Iran in the absence of diplomatic relations.

    President Ebrahim Raisi sent a message praising Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard for launching the attack, saying it had taught a lesson to the “Zionist regime.” He also warned that “any new adventure against the interests of the Iranian nation would be met with a heavier and regretful response from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

    State TV meanwhile broadcast interviews with people on the street who praised the Iranian missile and drone attack on Israel and thanked the Iranian military.

    HAMAS DEMANDS WRITTEN COMMITMENT THAT ISRAEL WILL WITHDRAW FROM GAZA

    CAIRO — Hamas has demanded a “clear written commitment” that Israel will withdraw from the Gaza Strip during the second of a three-phase cease-fire deal, a senior Egyptian official and a Hamas official said Sunday.

    The Palestinian militant group said Saturday it submitted its response to a six-week cease-fire proposal to Egyptian and Qatari mediators. It said it’s still committed to its demands for a permanent cease-fire, Israeli army withdrawal from all parts of Gaza, the return of displaced people to their homes, intensifying the flow of aid and the start of reconstruction. Israel said earlier Sunday that Hamas had rejected the latest proposal for a deal submitted last week.

    “We confirm our readiness to reach a deal regarding a serious exchange of prisoners between the two sides,” Hamas said.

    The proposal presented to both 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 Israeli jails, including 100 serving long sentences for serious crimes.

    The Egyptian official said Hamas wants “a comprehensive, phased deal” that included ending the war, Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and an agreement of all hostages in return for a large number of Palestinian prisoners. Israel says it wants to destroy Hamas’ military and governing capabilities.

    The officials said the response also included an increase in the number of Palestinian prisoners Hamas wants released from Israel.

    The officials from Egypt and Hamas spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose details from the sensitive negotiations. They said that Hamas’ response included the unrestricted return of displaced Palestinians in northern Gaza through the two main south-north thoroughfares.

    The Egyptian official said mediators will carefully review the response before calling for another round of talks.

    — By Samy Magdy

    G7 LEADERS WILL CONVENE SUNDAY IN A VIDEO CALL

    ROME — Leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations will hold a video conference Sunday to discuss an unprecedented Iranian attack against Israel.

    Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni, whose country holds the G7 rotating presidency, wrote on X: "We express strong concern about a further destabilization of the region and continue to work to avoid it.”

    U.S. President Joe Biden said the meeting is "to coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack.” The language indicated that the Biden administration does not want Iran’s assault to spiral into a broader military conflict.

    JORDAN REPORTS IT BROUGHT DOWN IRANIAN OBJECTS OVER ITS TERRITORY

    AMMAN, Jordan — The Jordanian Council of Ministers says that its forces “dealt with” parts of the Iranian attack that flew over its territory, “to prevent them from endangering the safety of our citizens and residential and inhabited areas.”

    It said that fragments fell in multiple places but did not cause any significant damage or injuries.

    The German Foreign Ministry said in a travel advisory Saturday that the Jordanian air force had shot down Iranian drones over Jordan, including over the capital, Amman.

    Jordan's airspace was reopened on Sunday morning.

    JAPAN'S PRIME MINISTER CONDEMNS THE IRANIAN ATTACK

    TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Sunday condemned Iran’s attack on Israel as a move to worsen the ongoing Middle East situation.

    “I am deeply concerned and strongly condemn the escalation," he told reporters.

    Kishida said his government will do the utmost for the safety of Japanese citizens in the region, and stressed the importance of diplomatic effort to prevent further escalation of tensions. He said there has been no report of injury to Japanese nationals so far from the attack.

    Kishida made the comment shortly after returning to Tokyo after a weeklong visit to the United States, where he stressed Japan’s role as a committed partner for the U.S. in global security and other issues.

    IRAN SAYS ITS STRIKE WAS MORE SUCCESSFUL THAN IT EXPECTED

    TEHRAN, Iran — The chief of Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard says the operation against Israel was more successful than expected.

    Gen. Hossein Salami, in an interview with state TV, said they were still collecting information but that "the part of the hits that we have detailed and documented reports from the field show that this operation was more successful.”

    He also said the Iranian forces had carried out a limited operation that matched "the evil that the Zionist enemy had done.”

    Salami described the Israeli air defense system as complex, multi-layered and advanced and said passing through this system was a very difficult task.

    “It means designing an operation that can pass drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles through this space and destroy them (targets) on the ground with extremely high accuracy," he said.

    HAMAS LAUDS IRAN'S ATTACK ON ISRAEL

    CAIRO — Hamas on Sunday praised Iran’s unprecedented missile and drone attack on Israel, saying it was a “deserved response to the crime” of a strike on Iran’s consulate in Syria two weeks ago.

    The strike on the Iranian diplomatic compound on April 1 killed two Iranian generals and was widely attributed to Israel.

    Hamas, an Islamic militant group backed by Iran, also appealed for continued support for its war with Israel in Gaza, now in its seventh month. Hamas directed the appeal at Arab and Islamic nations, as well as Iran-backed groups in the region.

    Hamas said in the statement that it is fighting for “the right of our Palestinian people to freedom and independence and the establishment of its Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

    Hamas has been branded a terror organization by the West and has rejected a so-called two-state solution, instead seeking Israel’s destruction.

    HEZBOLLAH SAYS IT FIRED DOZENS OF ROCKETS TOWARD ISRAELI MILITARY POSTS IN GOLAN HEIGHTS

    BEIRUT — Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group says it fired dozens of rockets toward Israeli military posts in Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights early Sunday after an Israeli airstrike killed one person in Lebanon.

    The group said the attack was in retaliation for Israeli airstrikes overnight on towns and villages in southern Lebanon that killed and wounded “civilians."

    Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency said Israeli airstrikes hit areas including the border villages of Kfar Kila and Odeisseh, as well as the town of Khiam. It said the airstrike on Khiam, a few miles from the border, killed one person and wounded others.

    The exchange early Sunday came as Iran launched hundreds of drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles toward Israel in an unprecedented revenge mission for the April 1 airstrike on the Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

    ISRAEL REOPENS ITS AIRSPACE AFTER IRANIAN ATTACK

    TEL AVIV, Israel — Israel has reopened its airspace following an unprecedented attack on its territory by Iran.

    Israel’s Transportation Ministry said the country’s main international airport has resumed operations. It said domestic airports would reopen throughout the day Sunday.

    Israel says Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles toward its territory in the early morning attack, and that air defenses intercepted 99% of them. Minor damage was caused to an air base, the military said.

    The military announced measures on Saturday in anticipation of the Iranian attack, closing its airspace, canceling school and limiting public gatherings to no more than 1,000 people.

    ISRAEL HAILS INTERCEPTION OF IRANIAN MISSILES AND DRONES

    JERUSALEM — Israel on Sunday hailed the interception of virtually all of the more than 300 Iranian missiles and drones targeting its territory as a significant strategic success.

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

    Defense Minister Yoav Gallant added that “the Iranian attack was blocked in the most impressive way, together with our partners, the Americans and others.”

    The Israeli army spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said that 99% of more than 300 launches, including drones, surface-to-surface missiles and cruise missiles, were intercepted outside Israeli territory. He said only a few got through, causing minor damage to an air base and injuring a 7-year-old girl in another location.

    The successful interceptions come at a time when Israel is bogged down in its war against Hamas in Gaza, triggered by the militants’ deadly Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel. At the start of the war, Israel vowed to crush Hamas and bring back hostages the militants had taken on Oct. 7. Yet Hamas, while significantly weakened, remains standing, and dozens of hostages are still in Gaza.

    NETANYAHU SAYS HAMAS REJECTS LATEST CEASE-FIRE PROPOSAL

    JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Sunday that Hamas has rejected the latest proposal for a temporary cease-fire in Gaza, which would was to include the release of about 40 hostages held by the Islamic militants.

    The proposal had been presented to Hamas a week ago by mediators Qatar, Egypt and the United States.

    The Israeli statement said that Israel had shown flexibility in the negotiations. It alleged that Hamas leader Yehya Sinwar “continues to take advantage of the tensions with Iran” and seeks a wider regional escalation.

    The statement came just hours after Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel early Sunday, with Israel saying 99% of the launches were intercepted.

    ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER CALLS IRAN ‘A COUNTRY OF TERROR’

    JERUSALEM — Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday called Iran “a country of terror” after Tehran launched hundreds of drones and missiles toward Israel in an unprecedented attack.

    "The Iranian attack was blocked in the most impressive way, together with our partners, the Americans and others ... The entire world saw today who is Iran — a country of terror,” Gallant said.

    The attack, less than two weeks after a suspected Israeli strike in Syria that killed two Iranian generals in an Iranian consular building, marked 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.

    U.N SECURITY COUNCIL CALLS AN EMERGENCY MEETING

    The U.N. Security Council called an emergency meeting for 4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT) on Sunday, after Iran launched hundreds of drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles at Israel.

    “The gravity and volume of the attacks is unprecedented,” Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan wrote in a letter to the council late Saturday calling for the meeting.

    BIDEN SAYS U.S. HELPED ISRAEL DOWN ‘NEARLY ALL’ IRANIAN DRONES AND MISSILES

    WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden says U.S. forces helped Israel down “nearly all” of the drones and missiles launched by Iran and pledged to convene allies to develop a unified response.

    Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke early Sunday, Israeli time, their governments said. Biden said in a statement that he reaffirmed “America’s ironclad commitment” to Israel’s security — a departure from his harsh criticism over Israel’s handling of the war in Gaza.

    “At my direction, to support the defense of Israel, the U.S. military moved aircraft and ballistic missile defense destroyers to the region over the course of the past week,” Biden said in the statement. “Thanks to these deployments and the extraordinary skill of our servicemembers, we helped Israel take down nearly all of the incoming drones and missiles.”

    UN CHIEF CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES

    U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres is calling for an immediate halt to hostilities in the Middle East.

    “I strongly condemn the serious escalation represented by the large-scale attack launched on Israel by the Islamic Republic of Iran this evening,” Guterres wrote in a statement Saturday night.

    “I am deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation. I urge all parties to exercise maximum restraint to avoid any action that could lead to major military confrontations on multiple fronts in the Middle East,” Guterres wrote. “I have repeatedly stressed that neither the region nor the world can afford another war.”

    GERMANY, FRANCE, CANADA CONDEMN IRANIAN ATTACKS AGAINST ISRAEL

    The French government forcefully condemned the Iranian air attack on Israel.

    French foreign minister Stéphane Séjourné said in a statement Saturday that in “taking such an unprecedented action, Iran has crossed a new threshold with regard to its destabilizing activities and is risking a potential military escalation.”

    German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wrote early Sunday on X that Germany condemns “in the strongest possible terms the ongoing attack, which could plunge an entire region into chaos.

    “Iran and its proxies must stop it immediately,” Baerbock wrote. "We offer Israel our full solidarity at this time.”

    Likewise, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his nation “unequivocally condemns Iran’s airborne attacks against Israel.”

    "We stand with Israel. After supporting Hamas’ brutal October 7 attack, the Iranian regime’s latest actions will further destabilize the region and make lasting peace more difficult,” Trudeau said in a statement.

    "We support Israel’s right to defend itself and its people from these attacks.”

    BRITAIN AND ARGENTINA RESPOND TO IRANIAN ATTACK ON ISRAEL

    U.K. Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said additional Royal Air Force jets and air refueling tankers have been sent to the Middle East to bolster Britain’s existing operation against the Islamic State Group in Iraq and Syria.

    He said the jets “will intercept airborne attacks within range of our existing missions,” but did not confirm whether RAF jets had already shot down any Iranian drones.

    Meanwhile, the spokesperson of Argentine President Javier Milei says the leader will cancel a trip to Denmark and return to Buenos Aires due to Iran’s attack on Israel.

    A statement from presidential spokesperson Manuel Adorni said Milei was flying home to form a “crisis committee in light of the latest events in Israel, to take charge of the situation and coordinate actions with the presidents of the Western world.”

    An Iranian demonstrator chants slogans while attending an anti-Israeli gathering at the Felestin (Palestine) Square in Tehran, Iran, early Sunday, April 14, 2024. Iran launched its first direct military attack against Israel Saturday. The Israeli military says Iran fired more than 100 bomb-carrying drones toward Israel. Hours later, Iran announced it had also launched much more destructive ballistic missiles. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
    Iranian demonstrators chant slogans during an anti-Israeli gathering in front of the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran, early Sunday, April 14, 2024. Iran launched its first direct military attack against Israel on Saturday. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
    In this image provided by the White House, President Joe Biden, along with members of his national security team, receive an update on an ongoing airborne attack on Israel from Iran, as they meet in the Situation Room of the White House in Washington, Saturday, April 13, 2024. From left to right, facing Biden are, Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns; Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence; Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. Some papers on the desk have been blurred by the source for national security reasons. (Adam Schultz/The White House via AP)
    Iranian demonstrators chant slogans during an anti-Israeli gathering in front of the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran, early Sunday, April 14, 2024. Iran launched its first direct military attack against Israel on Saturday. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
    A cleric chants slogans during an anti-Israeli gathering in front of the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran, early Sunday, April 14, 2024. Iran launched its first direct military attack against Israel on Saturday. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
    Iranian demonstrators chant slogans during their anti-Israeli gathering in front of the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran, early Sunday, April 14, 2024. Iran launched its first direct military attack against Israel on Saturday. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

    Comment threads are monitored for 48 hours after publication and then closed.