Iran launches extensive drone attack at Israel


Israel’s Channel 12 TV cited an unnamed Israeli official as saying there would be a “significant response” to the attack.

The war in Gaza, which Israel invaded after an attack by Iran-backed Hamas on October 7, has ratcheted 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.

Escalation

Iran’s most powerful ally in the region, the Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah – which has been exchanging fire with Israel since the Gaza war began – said early on Sunday it had fired rockets at an Israeli base.

Drones were also reportedly launched against Israel by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group, which has attacked shipping lanes in and around the Red Sea to show solidarity with Hamas, British maritime security company Ambrey said in a statement.

Those clashes now threaten to morph into a direct open conflict pitting Iran and its regional allies against Israel and its main supporter, the United States. Regional power Egypt urged “utmost restraint”.

Israel’s chief military spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, called Iran’s actions “very grave”, telling a televised briefing they “push the region toward escalation”.

Iran launched dozens of ground-to-ground missiles at Israel, including more than 10 cruise missiles, and most were intercepted outside Israeli borders, Hagari said.

The Iranian salvo caused light damage to one Israeli military facility, he said.

The Israeli military said it was not advising residents to prepare to take shelter, revising an earlier alert in an apparent signal of the end of the threat.

UN Security Council to meet

Iran had vowed retaliation for what it called the Israeli strike on its embassy compound that killed seven Revolutionary Guard officers, including two senior commanders. Tehran said its strike was punishment for “Israeli crimes”. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the consulate attack.

“Should the Israeli regime make another mistake, Iran’s response will be considerably more severe,” the Iranian mission to the United Nations said, warning the US to “stay away”. However, it also said Iran now “deemed the matter concluded”.

US President Joe Biden, who spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said he would convene a meeting of leaders of the G7 major economies on Monday (AEST) to co-ordinate a diplomatic response to what he called Iran’s brazen attack.

Iranian demonstrators chant slogans during an anti-Israeli gathering in front of the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran on Sunday.

Iranian demonstrators chant slogans during an anti-Israeli gathering in front of the British Embassy in Tehran, Iran on Sunday.Credit: AP

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said America did not seek conflict with Iran but would not hesitate to act to protect US forces and support defence of Israel.

The UN Security Council was set to meet at 4pm in New York (6am Monday AEST) on Sunday after Israel requested it condemn Iran’s attack and designate the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organisation.

Iran’s Fars news agency quoted a source as saying Tehran was closely watching Jordan, which might become the next target is case of any moves in support of Israel.

Syria, an ally of Iran, said it was putting its ground-to-air defence systems around the capital and major bases on high alert, army sources there said.



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