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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Iran Launches Hundreds of Missiles, Drones in First Direct Attack on Israel

Iran has launched hundreds of drones and missiles against Israel in an unprecedented attack, following an Israeli raid on the Iranian consulate in Syria two weeks ago. This escalation came more than six months into Israel’s devastating war on the Gaza Strip, which has killed over 33,000 Palestinians and pushed the besieged territory to the brink of famine. The war has driven up tensions in the region, spreading to fronts with Lebanon and Syria and drawing long-range fire at Israeli targets from as far away as Yemen and Iraq.

The Israeli military said that the Iranian salvo consisted of more than 300 “killer drones, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles”, but that 99 percent were intercepted with help from forces from France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The launches, which the army said came from Iran, as well as from Iraq and Yemen, set off air raid sirens in cities across Israel, including Tel Aviv, with explosions heard as air defenses intercepted the projectiles.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) confirmed the attack, saying it launched the drones and missiles under Operation True Promise as part of the punishment for “the Zionist entity’s crime of targeting the Iranian consulate in Syria” on April 1. The raid in Damascus killed 13 people, including two senior generals in the IRGC’s elite Quds Force. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the consulate attack.

With the missiles and drone attack, Iran’s mission to the United Nations said it now deemed the matter “concluded” and warned Israel of a “considerably more severe” response should the “Israeli regime make another mistake”. It also warned the US to stay out of the conflict.

Before the Iranian attack, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon announced temporarily closing their airspace, while Syria put on high alert its Russian-made Pantsir ground-to-air defence systems around Damascus and major bases. Iranian armed forces seized a container ship linked to Israel near the Strait of Hormuz. Western countries condemned Iran’s missile and drone assault, including the US, the UK, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Norway.

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