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

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

Sirens and explosions could be heard in Jerusalem on Sunday after Iran fired drones and missiles towards Israel.

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Israel hailed the success of its defenses in the face of an unprecedented attack by Iran involving hundreds of drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.

What to know

  • Iran had been threatening to attack Israel after an airstrike earlier this month that was widely blamed on Israel destroyed Iran’s consulate in Syria.
  • It was the first time Iran has launched a direct military assault on Israel, despite decades of enmity.
  • Leaders of the G7 issued a statement Sunday “unequivocally condemning in the strongest terms Iran’s direct and unprecedented attack against Israel.”

 
Israeli military lifts restrictions, says schools can reopen
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The Israeli military says children can return to school after lifting a series of restrictions on public activities that were imposed ahead of Sunday’s Iranian missile strike.

The military’s Home Front command late Saturday canceled school and limited the size of public gatherings as a safety precaution ahead of the missile attack.

Monday’s announcement reflected the determination that the threat of further attacks has passed.

The Home Front Command says the changes went into effect at midnight.

 
Biden speaks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II
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The White House says President Biden spoke by phone Sunday with Jordan’s King Abdullah II about the situation in the Middle East.

Biden strongly condemned the attack launched by Iran, which the White House says also “threatened Jordan and the Jordanian people.” Both leaders said they continue to monitor the situation and will remain in close touch over the coming days.

They also discussed the situation in Gaza, and reaffirmed their cooperation to increase critical humanitarian assistance to Gaza and to find a path to end the crisis as soon as possible.

 
Israel’s president says response to Iran attack showed ‘ironclad’ alliance between Israel, US
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Israel’s President Isaac Herzog said on CNN Sunday afternoon that the last 24 hours had shown the “ironclad” alliance between the U.S. and Israel.

Herzog was referring to the Iranian drone and missile attack on Israel less than two weeks after a suspected Israeli strike in Syria that killed two Iranian generals in an Iranian consular building. Israel and its coalition of partners, including the U.S., were able to defeat 99% of the munitions.

“We can argue on many things and it’s legitimate,” Herzog said. “We have our objectives and we are a small nation. The United States is a world superpower, has its interests. But at the end we must have a dialogue.”

Herzog, referring to the Hamas attack on Israel in October and Israel’s response, said everyone who watches and analyzes Israel must understand that “we have been met by an empire of evil. It’s true. It’s absolutely true. Our citizens were raped and butchered and burned and tortured and abducted in an unbelievably unprecedented massacre.”

Herzog then called it a “Hamas-acre.”

He said Israel is working closely with the U.S. and other allies on the situation in Gaza.

 
U.S. says Iran’s attack on Israel clearly intended to cause ‘significant’ damage, death
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WASHINGTON — Senior Biden administration officials said Sunday it was clear Iran’s attack on Israel was intended to cause significant damage and death, and U.S. officials had been in regular contact with their Israeli counterparts.

Israel and its coalition of partners were able to defeat 99% of the munitions, a senior administration official. If the assault had been successful, “this attack could have cause an uncontrollable escalation of broader regional conflict.”

The heads of the G7 leading industrialized nations on their call Sunday were “totally united” in the condemnation of Iran and need to hold Iran to account for the assault, the official said.

Biden in his call with Netanyahu reaffirmed his unwavering support for Israel’s defense, the official said, but then told the prime minister “that Israel really came out far ahead in this exchange.”

 
Israel activating two reserve brigades for operations in Gaza
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JERUSALEM — The Israeli military says it is activating two reserve brigades for “operational activities” in Gaza.

Sunday’s announcement comes as Israel prepares for a ground invasion of Rafah – the southern Gaza city that Israel says is Hamas’ last major stronghold.

Israel last week withdrew most of its remaining ground forces from Gaza after six months of war, leaving its troop levels in the territory at the lowest level in months.

The Rafah invasion faces stiff international opposition, in large part because over 1 million people, roughly half of Gaza’s population, are now crowded into the city after fleeing fighting elsewhere in the territory. They say they have nowhere else to go.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is determined to complete the Gaza operation. He says Israel has even set a date for the operation and claimed that Israel has a plan to evacuate civilians from Rafah.

 
G7 countries condemn Iran’s attack on Israel
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ROME — Leaders of the G7 — the informal gathering of industrialized countries that includes the United States, United Kingdom and France — issued a statement Sunday “unequivocally condemning in the strongest terms Iran’s direct and unprecedented attack against Israel.”

The statement came after the leaders met in a video conference hosted by the Italian presidency.

“Iran fired hundreds of drones and missiles towards Israel. Israel, with the help of its partners, defeated the attack,” the statement reads. “We express our full solidarity and support to Israel and its people and reaffirm our commitment towards its security.”

The group also stressed that Iran “with its actions, has further stepped toward the destabilization of the region and risks provoking an uncontrollable regional escalation.”

The G7 leaders said that scenario must be avoided.

“We will continue to work to stabilize the situation and avoid further escalation. In this spirit, we demand that Iran and its proxies cease their attacks, and we stand ready to take further measures now and in response to further destabilizing initiatives,” they said.

▶ Read more here.

 
Hezbollah praises Iran attack on Israel, calls it a ‘new phase’ in conflict with Israel
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BEIRUT — The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah on Sunday hailed Iran for its early attack on southern Israel, saying it’s the beginning of a “new phase” of the conflict with Israel and the Palestinian cause.

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

“The operation precisely achieved its limited military objectives, despite the involvement of the United States, its allies, and its regional tools in responding to the stunning attack,” the Lebanese group said in a statement. “The long-term political and strategic objectives for this major development will be successfully apparent over time.”

 
Israeli war cabinet member Gantz praises international efforts to thwart Iran attack
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JERUSALEM — Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet, praised regional and international efforts that helped thwart the Iranian missile and drone attack on Sunday.

The U.S. and Britain have confirmed that they helped intercept some of the more than 300 drones and missiles launched toward Israel early Sunday.

“This event is not over — the strategic alliance and regional cooperation system that we built and stood its significant test needs to be strengthened right now, ” Gantz said.

Jordan, which sits between Israel and Iran, also indicated its military may have come to Israel’s defense, despite being at odds with its neighbor over its war against Hamas in Gaza.

Jordan briefly closed its airspace and announced that “some of the flying objects that entered our airspace last night were dealt with and confronted.”

 
The shadow war between Iran and Israel has been exposed. What happens next?
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Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel early Sunday marked a change in approach for Tehran, which had relied on proxies across the Middle East since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October.

All eyes are now on whether Israel chooses to take further military action, while Washington seeks diplomatic measures instead to ease regional tensions.

▶ Read more about what could come next.

 
Photos: Iranian demonstrators attend an anti-Israeli gathering in Tehran, Iran, hours after missile attacks were launched
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Afghan Taliban says Iranian attack was legitimate self-defense
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KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is part of the Taliban government, issued a statement in support of Iran Saturday, saying Israel acted “in continuation of its crimes and in contravention of all diplomatic norms and international laws” by the attack on April 2 on the Iranian consulate in Syria, in which 12 people were killed.

“In response to which the Islamic Republic of Iran exercised its legitimate right to self-defense last night,” the statement said. It accused Israel of trying to “divert world attention away from the genocide of over 33,000 civilians in Gaza by violating the airspace of sovereign states and provocations aimed at broadening regional insecurity.”

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan calls on all influential world and regional states to expedite their efforts of halting the crimes of the Zionist regime in order to prevent further escalation of the crisis,” the statement concluded.

 
A Tel Aviv mural highlights Biden’s pledge for support
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A man walks past a mural depicting the U.S. president Joe Biden as a superhero defending Israel on a street in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, April 14, 2024. Israel on Sunday hailed its successful air defenses in the face of an unprecedented attack by Iran, saying it and its allies thwarted 99% of the more than 300 drones and missiles launched toward its territory. But regional tensions remain high, amid fears of further escalation in the event of a possible Israeli counter-strike. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

A man walks past a mural depicting the U.S. president Joe Biden as a superhero defending Israel on a street in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, April 14, 2024. Israel on Sunday hailed its successful air defenses in the face of an unprecedented attack by Iran, saying it and its allies thwarted 99% of the more than 300 drones and missiles launched toward its territory. But regional tensions remain high, amid fears of further escalation in the event of a possible Israeli counter-strike. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

A mural depicting U.S. president Joe Biden as a superhero defending Israel was seen on a street in Tel Aviv.

Biden on Friday said the United States was “devoted” to defending Israel and that “Iran will not succeed.” Asked by reporters what his message was for Iran, the president’s only reply was: “Don’t.”

 
Iran says it notified the U.S. before attacking Israel
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TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, in a press conference said his country notified the United States before launching the strike against Israel.

“Early Sunday in a message to the White House we announced that our operation would be limited and minimalistic and aimed at legitimate defense and punishing the Israeli regime,” Amirabdollahian said.

Tehran’s top diplomat also said the limited Iranian attacks would not target civilians or economic areas: “In our response, we defined no response against civilian targets. Our armed forces targeted no economic or populated areas.”

Amirabdollahian said the strike’s goal was to punish the Israeli regime and it was a legitimate act of defense by Iranian forces: “Our goal in this legitimate act of defense is simply punishing the Israeli regime.”

“We are not after American individuals or bases in the region”, Amirabdollahian said.

 
Israel’s multilayered air-defense system protected it from Iran’s drone and missile strike
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Israeli Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran, in central Israel, Sunday, April 14, 2024. Iran launched its first direct military attack against Israel on 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/Tomer Neuberg)

Israeli Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran, in central Israel, Sunday, April 14, 2024. Iran launched its first direct military attack against Israel on 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/Tomer Neuberg)

An incoming attack by more than 300 Iranian drones and ballistic missiles was the latest challenge to Israel’s air defense system, which already has been working overtime to cope with incoming rocket, drone and missile attacks throughout the six-month war against Hamas.

Israel’s defense system with assistance from the U.S. and Britain is credited with preventing serious damage or casualties.

▶ Read more about how Israel’s air-defense system works.

 
Yemen’s Houthi rebels say the Iranian attack was legitimate
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CAIRO — The Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen on Sunday said Iran’s unprecedented missile and drone attack on Israel was a “legitimate act” that came in response to an airstrike on Iran’s consulate in Syria that was widely blamed on Israel.

Writing on the messaging app Telegram, Mohamed Abdel Salam, spokesman for the Houthis, said Israel “won’t be able to escape its crimes without punishment.”

The Houthis, who control the Yemeni capital and much of the country’s north, have repeatedly launched attacks on vessels in the Red Sea and surrounding waters over the Israel-Hamas war. They also fired missiles and explosives-laden drones towards Israel.

 
Cyprus president says his nation wasn’t involved in any military action
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NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides says the east Mediterranean island nation “wasn’t in anyway involved” in any military action to thwart Iran’s unprecedented drone and missile attack against Israel.

Christodoulides told reporters Sunday that aircraft had arrived in Cyprus “from neighboring countries” late Saturday. He said they would depart Sunday.

Asked if the U.K. had informed the Cypriot government ahead of time that any of its warplanes from a British air base on the island would be involved in intercepting the Iranian attack, Christodoulides said there was no forewarning.

The U.K’s two military bases on Cyprus — including the larger air base RAF Akrotiri —- are British sovereign territory and don’t require the Cypriot government’s permission to launch any military action. But normally, the U.K. does brief the Cypriot government of any impending action as a courtesy.

The Cypriot president said his foreign minister spoke with his British counterpart only after the fact.

He added that he’s hoping there’s no further escalation because his government doesn’t believe that “any problems are solved through such aggressive acts.”

 
Lufthansa suspends some Mideast flights through Monday
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German airline Lufthansa said Sunday that it had suspended regular flights to and from Tel Aviv, Amman and Erbil through Monday. It said it plans to serve those destinations again starting Tuesday, but that flights to Beirut and Tehran will remain suspended until at least Thursday.

Lufthansa said it was monitoring and assessing the security situation in the Middle East and was in close contact with authorities.

“The safety of our passengers and crews always has top priority,” it said in an emailed statement.

Lufthansa, Europe’s biggest airline group, announced on Friday that its planes were avoiding Iranian airspace.

 
UK moves additional warplanes to the Mideast
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NICOSIA, Cyprus — The British government says it has moved “several additional” fighter jets and refueling tankers to the region, following Iran’s unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel.

In a statement Sunday, the British government said the air assets will bolster the U.K.’s existing operation against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq as well as intercepting “any airborne attacks within the range of our existing missions, as required.”

Asked by ϰϲ whether the additional jets have been transferred to the U.K.’s air base in Cyprus, a spokesperson said a “number of aircraft” have been “temporarily moved” from Romania to bolster our existing footprint in the region. The official didn’t disclose the exact location for “reasons of operational security.”

Israel said Sunday that 99% of more than 300 drones and ballistic and cruise missiles Iran had launched were intercepted.

 
Zelenskyy condemns Iran’s attack
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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. interest in Iran in the absence of diplomatic relations.

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)

A cleric chants slogans during an anti-Israeli gathering in front of the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran, early Sunday, April 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

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
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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.

 
G7 leaders will convene Sunday in a video call
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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 langua

 
Jordan reports it brought down Iranian objects over its territory
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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 hails interception of Iranian missiles and drones
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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
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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’
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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
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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.

 
Israeli military says most drones and missiles intercepted before arriving in country
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The Israeli military’s spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said Iran fired scores of drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles — with the vast majority intercepted outside Israel’s borders.

He said warplanes intercepted over 10 cruise missiles alone, also outside Israeli airspace.

He said a handful of missiles managed to land in Israel.

Rescuers said one strike critically wounded a 10-year-old girl in a Bedouin Arab town in southern Israel, while Hagari said another missile struck an army base, causing light damage but no injuries.

 
UN chief calls for an immediate stop to hostilities
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Objects flying over the sky were seen from the West Bank, while booms and air raid sirens have sounded in Jerusalem after Iran launched dozens of drones and ballistic missiles toward Israel in an unprecedented revenge mission that pushes the Middle East closer to a regionwide war.

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.”

 
WATCH: Sirens and explosions are heard in Jerusalem
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Sirens and explosions could be heard in Jerusalem on Sunday after Iran fired drones and missiles towards Israel.

 
Germany, France and Canada condemn Iran’s attack
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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 the attack
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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.”

 
Israel’s air defense system faces a big test
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FILE - A battery of Israel's Iron Dome defense missile system, deployed to intercept rockets, sits in Ashkelon, southern Israel, Aug. 7, 2022. An incoming attack by Iranian drones and ballistic missiles Sunday, April 14, 2024, poses the latest challenge to Israel’s air defense system, which already has been working overtime to cope with incoming rocket, drone and missile attacks throughout the six-month war against Hamas. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)

A battery of Israel’s Iron Dome defense missile system, deployed to intercept rockets, sits in Ashkelon, southern Israel, Aug. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)

The attack poses the latest challenge to Israel’s air defense system, which already has been working overtime to cope with incoming rocket, drone and missile attacks throughout the six-month war against Hamas.

Here’s a closer look at the multilayered system.

 
US forces down drones headed to Israel
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U.S. officials say American military forces have downed some Iran-launched attack drones flying toward Israel.

That is according to a U.S. defense official and two U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter. The defense official said the effort to intercept the attack was continuing.

In this image released by the White House, President Joe Biden, third from right, meets with members of the National Security team regarding the unfolding missile attacks on Israel from Iran, Saturday, April 13, 2024, in the Situation Room of the White House in Washington. (Adam Schultz/The White House via AP)

In this image released by the White House, President Joe Biden, third from right, meets with members of the National Security team regarding the unfolding missile attacks on Israel from Iran, Saturday, April 13, 2024, in the Situation Room of the White House in Washington. (Adam Schultz/The White House via AP)

Since Iran announced its attack Saturday against Israel, air raid sirens have gone off in Jerusalem, in northern and southern Israel, in the Negev region, in the Shomron area and in the Dead Sea region.

— Associated Press writers Zeke Miller and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington and Mike Balsamo in New York contributed.

 
Israel orders residents in some areas to move close to protected spaces
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The Israeli army has ordered residents of the Golan Heights in the north and Nevatim, Dimona and Eilat in the south to stay close to a protected space — such as a shelter, stairwell or inner room — until further notice.

Residents must be able to reach the protected spaces as soon as air raid sirens are activated, the statement said.

“We ask the public to follow the instructions of the Home Front Command regarding the situation and wait for additional instructions,” the statement said.

 
Iran says it has fired ballistic missiles at Israel
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Iran’s state TV confirmed early on Sunday that the country’s powerful Revolutionary Guard had launched drones and missiles at Israel. Iran launched drones toward Israel late Saturday, the Israeli military also announced, and Iran’s state-run media reported that dozens had been fired.

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency says Tehran has fired ballistic missiles at targets inside of Israel. The announcement came shortly after Iran said it fired dozens of bomb-carrying drones.

Slow-moving Shahed-136 drones have been seen in the skies over Iran. However, those are more easily shot down.

Israel has missile defense systems capable of targeting ballistic missiles. However, in a massive attack involving multiple drones and missiles like the campaign launched late Saturday by Iran, the likelihood of a strike making it through is higher.

 
The Israeli army says it is determined to defend the country
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Israeli military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said that Iran has launched drones from its territory at Israel. Israel has been preparing for the possibility of a direct attack from Iran and is ready “for any scenario,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday.

The Israel Defense Forces says that it is prepared to defend itself against a massive drone attack launched by Iran.

Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, the army’s spokesperson, said the country is closely monitoring the drones that are headed to Israel.

“Our defensive and offensive capabilities are at the highest level of readiness,” he said. “Together with our partners, the Israel Defense Forces is operating at full-force to defend the State of Israel and the people of Israel.”

 
The U.S. pledges support for Israel
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National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said Saturday that the United States “will stand with the people of Israel and support their defense against these threats from Iran.”

The Pentagon reported that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had spoken with his Israeli counterpart “and made clear that Israel could count on full U.S. support to defend Israel against any attacks by Iran and its regional proxies.”

National security adviser Jake Sullivan also spoke with his counterpart to reinforce Washington’s “ironclad commitment” to Israel’s security.

 
Israel closes its airspace as it anticipates drone attack
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Israel says it has closed its airspace after Iran launched dozens of drones against it late Saturday.

Israeli aviation authorities said they were closing the country’s airspace to all flights as of 12:30 a.m. local time (5:30 p.m. EDT).

 
The attack represents the first assault on Israel by Iran
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The attack late Saturday marked the first time Iran had ever launched a military assault on Israel, despite decades of enmity dating back to the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran has a vast arsenal of drones and missiles. Tehran’s choice of the Shahed-136 drones both give Israel and its allies hours to shoot down the bomb-carrying drones. For the time being, it does not appear Iran has used any of its ballistic missiles in the attack, which would pose a greater risk to Israel.