Iran launches drones, missiles at Israel in retaliatory attack after consulate strike in Syria


Air raid sirens and loud booms sounded across Israel as Iran on Saturday evening launched dozens of drones and missiles at Israel in a retaliatory attack, Israeli authorities said.

Over 200 missiles and drones were fired from Iran towards Israel, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Daniel Hagari reported, saying that the vast majority were intercepted. Hagari, though, indicated an unknown number of missiles fell in Israeli territory. He said at least one child was wounded in the attack.

The IDF stated in a separate social media post there were some injuries from the Iranian-launched missiles, including at a military base in southern Israel, but no further details were immediately provided.

Israel had closed its airspace at midnight and fully activated its air defense systems ahead of the aerial assault. It took several hours before the drones reached Israeli airspace. Alerts started to sound across Israel close to 2 a.m. local time, the IDF said. Alarms went off in southern Israel, by the Dead Sea, in Jerusalem, and the Shomron area.

“The IDF is on high alert and is constantly monitoring the operational situation,” the IDF said in an earlier statement. “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 airspace. The IDF is monitoring all targets.”

U.S. forces in the region also shot down some of the Iranian-launched drones, two U.S. officials told CBS News.

Iran’s attack comes in retaliation for an April 1 Israeli strike on an Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria, which killed seven members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Iranian demonstrators wave a Palestinian flag as they gather at Palestine Square in Tehran on April 14, 2024, after Iran launched a drone and missile attack on Israel (Photo: ATTA KENARE/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES)

“The State of Israel has come under an unprecedented regional attack, including hundreds of missiles and UAVs, launched by Iran from its territory and assisted by its proxies,” Michael Herzog, Israeli ambassador to the U.S., wrote on social media, adding that Iran “must be held accountable.”

President Biden returned to the White House on Saturday in preparation for what was believed to be an imminent attack. Following a lengthy meeting with the National Security Council, Mr. Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday evening, the White House confirmed to CBS News.

“President Biden is being regularly updated on the situation by his national security team and will meet with them this afternoon at the White House,” a previous White House statement read.

“His team is in constant communication with Israeli officials as well as other partners and allies. 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 defense against these threats from Iran.”

The U.S. is on standby for further action by Iran, and from within the region via its proxies, a U.S. official told CBS News.

The U.S. is positioned to be able to shoot down incoming drones from Iran via assets in Iraq and Syria, three U.S. officials told CBS News. The U.S. also has fighter jets that are now on standby.

The U.S. assets were in addition to Navy destroyer USS Carney staying in the Central Mediterranean to provide additional protection if needed instead of heading West, and the destroyer USS Arleigh Burke remaining in the Eastern Mediterranean where it has been for a while, CBS News learned.

The U.S. preference is for the Israeli government to wait and assess the impact of the Iranian reprisal before responding to it, a U.S. official told CBS News. The U.S. preference is for a calibrated response.

The expectation is that the Israelis will calibrate based on whether it successfully intercepts Iranian incoming missiles and drones, and whether or not there are any casualties.

Netanyahu convened his war cabinet in Tel Aviv after issued a video address Saturday night, saying, “In recent years, and even more so in recent weeks, Israel has been preparing for the possibility of a direct attack from Iran. Our defense systems are deployed, we are prepared for any scenario, both in defense and attack. The State of Israel is strong, the IDF is strong, the public is strong.” (CBS)


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