GAt a quarter to two o'clock on Sunday night the warning sirens sounded at the Dead Sea. Alarms were also raised in Jerusalem and the southern part of the West Bank, northern Israel and parts of the Negev Desert in the south. Detonations were heard in the air in Jerusalem and several other cities. The Iranian attack on Israel, which had been a threat for days, had begun. The regime in Tehran wanted to retaliate for the killing of a high-ranking commander of the Revolutionary Guard, who died in Damascus a week and a half ago, in an attack allegedly initiated by Israel.

Christian Meier

Political correspondent for the Middle East and Northeast Africa.

Army spokesman Daniel Hagari appeared in front of the camera at three o'clock. The attack was a “massive escalation,” he said. “Iran carried out a large-scale coordinated attack on Israel tonight.” A “massive swarm” of more than 200 “killer drones” and missiles of various types were fired. Israel intercepted the vast majority of the flying objects and missiles in cooperation with its allies; However, the attack is still ongoing at this point.

Most of the missiles and drones appear to have been destroyed outside Israeli territory. The United States and Great Britain said they had taken part in the countermeasures. Jordan is also said to have shot down dozens of Iranian drones over its territory before they reached Israel, media reports said. According to Hagari, there was only minor damage to a military base in Israel. There were no deaths; a little girl was wounded.

Israel's war cabinet met in Tel Aviv

The situation had developed dramatically in the previous hours. At around 11 p.m. local time on Saturday evening, the Israeli army confirmed that Iran had launched “unmanned aerial vehicles from its territory toward the territory of the State of Israel.” The army has been put on high alert and is monitoring all targets, it said. Shortly afterwards, Iranian media spread a message from the Revolutionary Guard: an attack on Israel had been launched with “dozens of drones and missiles”.

Army spokesman Hagari said in an initial statement around midnight that this was a “serious and dangerous escalation”. The Israeli missile defense is “fully functional” and the army will defend the country and its people with all its strength. Residents of the Golan Heights in the north and southern regions have been ordered to stay near bunkers or shelters.

The Israeli war cabinet met in Tel Aviv. Around the same time in Washington, Joe Biden summoned senior members of the National Security Council to the White House Situation Room to discuss the situation. A Security Council spokeswoman reiterated the president's position that his support for Israel's security is “irrequivocal.” “The United States will stand with the people of Israel and support them in their defense against these threats from Iran.”

Escalation affects the entire region

Apparently it wasn't just the drones: as Iranian state media announced a little later, ballistic missiles had also been fired at Israel. Hagari later confirmed this.

At this point, the attack was no longer exclusively Iranian. According to a report, the Houthi militia in Yemen, supported by Tehran, intervened and also fired rockets towards Israel. Hezbollah also took part in the wave of attacks: the Lebanese militia said it shelled an army base in the Golan Heights.

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