Middle East

Iran launches drones and missiles toward Israel in retaliatory attack: Live updates

Israel Defense Forces releases statement amidst Iranian attack

Iran has launched dozens of drones towards Israel amid fears of a wider regional war.

Israel and Jordan have both closed their airspaces after the IDF reported the unmanned craft were spotted over Iraq. The drones are expected to take several hours to arrive.

It comes amid rising tensions following an attack on the Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital Damascus.

Tehran had vowed a response to the strike in Syria at the beginning of the month, which killed a number of senior military leaders, with the US and allies making intense diplomatic efforts to try and keep the fallout to a minimum.

The situation across the region has been highly volatile for months, given the war in Gaza.

Israel launched an aerial bombardment, ground operations and a blockade in the wake of a brutal terror attack by Hamas inside Israel that killed around 1,200 people and saw another 250 taken hostage. More than 33,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to health officials in the Hamas-run strip.


Biden and Netanyahu speak by phone

President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have spoken by telephone.

The White House said Mr Biden and Mr Netanyahu spoke this evening.

The Prime Minister’s office also confirmed the phone call and release a photograph of Mr Netanyahu holding a telephone handset to his ear.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a telephone to his ear in a photograph released by his office (Israeli Prime Minister’s Spokesperson)

Andrew Feinberg14 April 2024 02:42


Biden meets with advisers in White House Situation Room

The White House has released this photograph of President Biden meeting with advisers in the White House situation room.

According to a White House official, the meeting included Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Charles Q. Brown, Director Bill Burns, Director Avril Haines, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Principal Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer, Homeland Security Advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall, Counselor to the President Steve Ricchetti and National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk.

Vice President Kamala Harris and White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients also joined the meeting by secure video link.

President Joe Biden meets with member of the National Security team regarding the unfolding missile attacks on Israel from Iran, Saturday, April 13, 2024, in the White House Situation Room. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz) (The White House)

Andrew Feinberg14 April 2024 02:00


IDF says ‘vast majority’ of Iranian cruise missiles intercepted

In a statement, the Israeli Defense Force said it had identified “dozens of surface-to-surface missile launches from Iran” on the way to Israeli territory.

The IDF said its’ “Ariel Defense Array” has “successfully intercepted the majority of the launches using the ‘Arrow’ Aerial Defense System” in concert with “Israel’s strategic allies” before any of the missiles could cross into Israeli territory.

“A small number of hits were identified, including at an IDF base in southern Israel, where minor damage was caused to infrastructure,” the IDF said.

The statement also said “many dozens of hostile aircraft” were identified and intercepted by “dozens” of Israeli Air Force fights which are currently operating in the area “to intercept all aerial threats approaching Israeli territory”.

Andrew Feinberg14 April 2024 01:54


US Defence Secretary has spoken with Israeli Defence Minister

According to the Israeli Ministry of Defence, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant “recently completed a call” with his US counterpart, Secretary Lloyd Austin.

The ministry said Mr Gallant “briefed the Secretary about Israel’s defensive operations in the face of Iran’s attack, and emphasized that the defense establishment is prepared for any further attempts to attack the State of Israel” and “expressed his appreciation to Secretary Austin for his leadership and for standing with Israel”.

The readout of the call also included this photograph of Mr Gallant holding a telephone to his ear.

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant holds a telephone to his ear in this photo released by the Israeli Ministry of Defence (Israeli Ministry of Defence / Ariel Hermoni )

Andrew Feinberg14 April 2024 01:44


US orders Jerusalem-based employees to shelter in place

Citing “incoming UAVs and missiles from Iran and Iranian proxies,” the US State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs has directed “all US government employees and their family members” to shelter in place, according to a post on X (formerly Twitter) from the bureau’s official account.

Andrew Feinberg14 April 2024 01:41


Senate Republican leader calls for Biden to lead ‘international effort’ against Tehran

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the upper chamber’s top Republican, has issued a statement urging President Joe Biden to “match words with actions” when it comes to what Mr Biden has described as America’s “ironclad” commitment to Israeli security.

“President Biden must lead an international effort to impose sufficient costs on Tehran to compel an end to its aggression and terror, both on Israeli soil and — as demonstrated with today’s IRGC assault on a commercial shipping vessel — around the region. Iran’s leaders must know the things they value most are at risk,” he said.

He also suggested that Mr Biden should back off his insistence that Israel allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza, writing that he “must also give Israel the time, space, and support it deserves to finish the job against Hamas” because “Tehran and its proxies are emboldened when they see divisions between the US and Israel”.

Mr McConnell’s statement also calls on the House to take action on the national security appropriations bill supported by Mr Biden, which the Senate has already passed.

“It will provide overdue lethal assistance to Ukraine and equip vulnerable allies and partners in Asia to deter the PRC. And it will make urgent investments in our own defence industrial base,” he said.

“We cannot hope to deter conflict without demonstrating resolve and investing seriously in American strength. The Commander-in-Chief and the Congress must discharge our fundamental duties without delay. The consequences of failure are clear, devastating, and avoidable.”

Andrew Feinberg14 April 2024 01:29


IDF says ‘vast majority’ of Iranian attack intercepted

Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, the spokesperson of the Israeli military, said Iran has fired a “massive swarm of over 200 killer drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles” towards Israel.

He said Israel and its partners have intercepted the “vast majority” but some landed inside Israel causing “minor damage” to an Israeli military base and injuring a 10-year-old girl. 

“Together with our allies and partners across the region, we are operating at this very moment to defend Israel from Iran’s attack. So far, we’ve intercepted the vast majority of incoming missiles by Israeli systems,” he said in a 3am briefing from Tel Aviv.

“We are continuing to intercept dozens of attack drones as well as cruise missiles and ballistic missiles outside of Israel’s border. A number of Iranian missiles fell inside Israeli territory called causing minor damage to a military base with no casualties. Only one little girl has been hurt, and we hope she will be well,” he added.

He also said the  “wide scale attack”  is ongoing and “a major escalation”.

“Our planes are in the air. Tonight, [this] wide scale attack by Iran is a major escalation. Together with our allies and partners we are operating at full force to defend the State of Israel and the people of Israel,” he said.

Andrew Feinberg14 April 2024 01:19


UK Ministry of Defence has moved RAF resources to Middle East

A Ministry of Defence official has said the following: “In response to increased Iranian threats and the growing risk of escalation in the Middle East, the UK Government has been working with partners across the region to encourage de-escalation and prevent further attacks”.

The official says the MOD has “moved several additional Royal Air Force jets and air refuelling tankers to the region”.

“These will bolster Operation Shader, which is the UK’s existing counter-Daesh operation in Iraq and Syria. In addition, these UK jets will intercept any airborne attacks within range of our existing missions, as required. We will continue to cooperate closely with our regional partners in the interest of de-escalation,” the official added.

Andrew Feinberg14 April 2024 00:24


Pentagon official: US forces are downing Iranian drones

A US Defence official has said American forces in the Middle East region “continue to shoot down Iranian-launched drones targeting Israel” as part of the country’s “ironclad commitment to Israel’s security”.

“Our forces remain postured to provide additional defensive support and to protect U.S. forces operating in the region,” the official adds.

Andrew Feinberg14 April 2024 00:21


Son of last Shah of Iran says Iranian people do not want war with Israel

Reza Pahlavi, the former Crown Prince of Iran and the son of the last Iranian monarch, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, has denounced the current Iranian government’s attack on Israel in a statement.

Mr Pahlavi, who lives in the United States, said current Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khameini “is trying to start a war to save his failing regime”.

He wrote: “While the people of Iran, inspired by our history, seek peaceful coexistence with all nations, the Islamic regime that has taken our nation hostage for 45 years seeks destructive chaos”.

“But this is not a war that our nation wants. Iranians have made it clear: the criminal mafia occupying Iran does not represent our nation, our values, or our aspirations. The path to lasting peace and security in the Middle East is to support the people of Iran who are fighting to reclaim our country and our rightful place in the world. I call on our friends in the region and Western powers to embrace this lasting solution for our region and to empower the Iranian people, their allies for peace,” he added.

Andrew Feinberg14 April 2024 00:15


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