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Iran intensifies conflict by attacking Israel; US forces help Israel intercept Iranian projectiles

Iran intensifies conflict by attacking Israel;  US forces help Israel intercept Iranian projectiles



Iran launched an air attack on Israel from Iranian territory, marking a major escalation in the conflict between the rival regional powers and prompting U.S. forces to act in support of Israel.

Iran's main military force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, issued a statement before dawn on Sunday, saying it had launched missiles and drones from Iranian territory towards Israel. He said the attack was in retaliation for what Iranian officials say was an Israeli strike that killed several senior Iranian military commanders in Damascus on April 1. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the April 1 strike.

Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari said Sunday that Iran launched more than 300 projectiles toward Israel, including from Yemen and Iraq, 99 percent of which were intercepted by Israeli air defenses outside Israeli airspace. The Israel Airports Authority also announced on Sunday morning that as of 7:30 a.m., Israeli airspace had reopened. He said flight schedules at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport were subject to change.

Videos posted on social media showed some of the projectiles intercepted over central and southern Israel, while others hit the ground and exploded as sirens blared.

Hagari also reportedly said an impact injured a young girl in the southern Negev desert.

An IDF statement published on the X platform said several other impacts caused minor damage to infrastructure at an IDF base in southern Israel.

In a message sent to VOA, Israeli reserve Brig. According to General Jacob Nagel, former national security adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli forces were helped by their American, British, Jordanian and Saudi allies to intercept the Iranian projectiles.

A US military official confirmed to VOA that US forces “continue to shoot down drones launched by Iran and targeting Israel.”

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant briefed U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Israel's defensive responses to Iranian attacks, according to a statement from Gallant's office. Gallant stressed that the Israeli defense establishment is “prepared for any further attempted attack” on the country.

US President Joe Biden spoke with Netanyahu on Saturday evening. The official said Biden's national security team “will continue to work with partners in the region to prevent further escalation.”

As the Iranian assault began, Netanyahu said in a televised message that Israel would defend itself “against any threat and would do so with composure and determination.”

Around the same time, White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson issued a statement saying the United States would “stand with the Israeli people and support their defense against these Iranian threats.” “.

“This attack is likely to unfold over several hours. President Biden has been clear: our support for Israel's security is ironclad,” Watson said.

Netanyahu acknowledged this support in his own statement, saying: “We appreciate the United States' position alongside Israel, as well as the support of Britain, France and many other countries. »

In a message published on the X platform, the Iranian mission to the UN in New York said the air attack on Israel marked the conclusion of Tehran's military action.

He adds: “If the Israeli regime makes another mistake, Iran's response will be considerably harsher. This is a conflict between Iran and the rogue Israeli regime, which the United States MUST STAY AWAY FROM! »

In an updated statement released later, the IRGC warned that any U.S. involvement aimed at harming Iran's interests would be met with a “decisive and remorseful response” from Iranian forces.

Nagel, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the Iranian attack, the first of its kind in decades of hostility between Iran and Israel, will likely be a turning point in the conflict.

“We're probably going to see a regional confrontation, because it's not just Iran versus Israel, but Iran versus the free world,” he said.

VOA National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin contributed to this report.




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