Iran launches hundreds of drones and missiles in first-ever direct military assault on Israel

Iran launched hundreds of drones and missiles toward Israel on Sunday in its first-ever direct military attack on the country, reported AP.

The attack is believed to be a response to a suspected Israeli airstrike on the Iranian Embassy in Syria earlier this month that killed 16 people, including seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

United States President Joe Biden said that his country’s support for Israel is “ironclad” and claimed that US forces had intervened to intercept “nearly all” the drones and missiles fired by Iran.

“I told [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] that Israel demonstrated a remarkable capacity to defend against and defeat even unprecedented attacks,” said Biden, reported BBC. United Kingdom Defence Minister Grant Shapps confirmed the deployment of Royal Air Force planes in the region

The attack, which pushes West Asia closer to a regional war, was confirmed by the Israeli military and by Iran’s state-run media, which claimed the launch of “dozens of drones and missiles towards the occupied territories and positions of the Zionist regime”, according to AP.

The majority of incoming threats were intercepted outside of Israel’s borders and airspace, claimed Israel Defense Forces spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari. He described Iran’s military action as “widespread” and called it a “major escalation” of tensions between the two countries.

Iran’s state-run media claimed to have targeted an Israeli air base in the Negev desert.

“We are seriously concerned at the escalation of hostilities between Israel and Iran which threatens the peace and security in the region,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement. “We call for immediate de-escalation, exercise of restraint, stepping back from violence and return to the path of diplomacy.”

The ministry said that is closely monitoring the situation and that India’s Embassies in the region were in touch with Indian communities. It emphasised the importance of maintaining “security and stability” in West Asia.

The United Nations Security Council is set to convene an urgent meeting at Israel’s request on Sunday, reported AFP.

France commented saying that “Iran has crossed a new threshold with regard to its destabilizing activities and is risking a potential military escalation” while British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called it “reckless.” A spokesperson fo German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that Germany “stands closely by Israel” and warned that Iran was risking a “regional conflagaration” with its “irresponsible and unjustifiable attack”.

On Saturday, the Israel Defense Forces had announced the closure of schools and limited public assemblies to not more than 1,000 people.

Iran’s attack comes amid widening tensions in West Asia as Israel pushes ahead with its war on Gaza, which has been ongoing for 15 weeks. The Israeli military’s air and ground operations in the besieged Palestinian territory have killed over 33,000 people so far. The war began after Palestinian militant group Hamas led an incursion into southern Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking over 200 hostages.

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