Iran attacks Israel. Drones intercepted. US and UK fighters in flight

Iran's much feared and threatened reaction to Israel's attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus began shortly after 10pm. Various Arab but also Israeli media reported the departure of dozens of drones from Iran headed towards Israel. The airspace above Tehran was closed.

Israeli President Netanyahu's plane took off but the president was not on board.

The IDF confirms that the drones were launched from Iran. The IDF says it will take several hours to reach Israel and that sirens will sound once it reaches Israeli territory. The drones of the first wave would have been intercepted and shot down over the skies of Syria and Jordan. At the same time, Iran announced that it had launched a third wave of bombs against Israel. In total there is talk of 500 drones launched from Tehran and headed for Israel. To these must also be added long-range cruise missiles.

US and French fighter planes took to the skies to try to hit the drones in flight.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has returned to the White House early as news arrives of the take-off of a second wave of Iranian drones towards Israel.

The news also arrives that from Yemen the pro-Iranian Houthi militiamen have also launched their drones towards the country of the Star of David.

“For us the reaction is over” the ayatollahs said. “Conducted on the basis of Article 51 of the United Nations Charter relating to self-defense, Iran's military action was a response to the Zionist regime's aggression against our diplomatic premises in Damascus. The matter can be considered concluded”: this is what we read in a statement released by the Iranian mission to the United Nations.

“However, if the Israeli regime were to make another mistake, Iran's response would be significantly more severe. It is a conflict between Iran and the rogue Israeli regime, which the United States must stay away from!”, the statement concludes. .

Israeli officials said dozens of suicide drones were launched from Iran towards Israel, as reported by Ynet. Some unverified reports suggest that between 50 and 100 suicide drones may have been launched. These reports indicate that the drones could arrive in Israel around 7:30 in the morning, which corresponds to 6:30 in Italy. Israel planned to intercept as many drones sent by Iran before they enter Israeli airspace, with support from the United States and other countries. This was reported by two Israeli sources to Axios reporter Barak Ravid.

«Israeli citizens, in recent years, and even more so in recent weeks, Israel has been preparing for the possibility of a direct attack by Iran. Our defense systems are deployed, we are prepared for any scenario, both defense and attack. The State of Israel is strong, the IDF is strong” The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said this in a speech to the country. Adding: «Our defense systems are deployed, we are prepared for any scenario, both in defense and attack. We appreciate the fact that the US stands by Israel, as well as the support of Great Britain, France and many other countries. Whoever harms us, we strike him. We will defend ourselves from any threat and we will do so with coolness and determination” As CNN writes, US President Joe Biden will meet with National Security Council officials in the Situation Room of the White House upon his return from Rehoboth, Delaware, according to a statement of the White House.

The president was also previously briefed on the situation in the Middle East by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer, the White House said. The White House added that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Charles Q. Brown will be among those present in the Situation Room, along with Sullivan and Finer. Vice President Kamala Harris and Biden chief of staff Jeff Zients “will participate via secure video,” the White House said.

Iranian missiles

If the drones are intercepted by Israel, a different matter applies to the missiles. Iran has developed a number of ballistic missiles, raising long-term concerns in the West. These missiles form a crucial part of Tehran's arsenal, threatening reprisals against Israel for an attack on the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus that led to the deaths of several Islamic Revolutionary Guards commanders, including two generals. According to information from the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Iran possesses the largest number of ballistic missiles in the region.

The semi-official Iranian media ISNA released a graphic illustrating nine Iranian missiles with the ability to reach Israel. Among them, the “Sejil” can fly at over 17,000 km/h and has a range of 2,500 km, the “Kheibar” has a range of 2,000 km, and the “Haj Qasem”, with a range of 1,400 km, it is dedicated to Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad four years ago. Iran, a major drone manufacturer, announced that it has developed the advanced Mohajer-10 drone, with an operational range of 2,000 km and a flight duration of up to 24 hours, capable of carrying a load of 300 kg. Iran claims its ballistic missiles are a deterrent force against the US, Israel and other regional targets and denies intent to develop nuclear weapons. Last June, Iran introduced its first domestically produced hypersonic ballistic missile, according to the official IRNA news agency. Hypersonic missiles, capable of flying at least five times faster than the speed of sound, are difficult to intercept thanks to their complex trajectory.

Despite opposition from the US and Europe, Iran has declared its intention to strengthen its defensive missile program. The Arms Control Association, a Washington-based non-governmental organization, says Iran's missile program is based primarily on North Korean and Russian designs, benefiting from Chinese assistance. The Arms Control Association lists Iranian short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, including Shahab-1 with a range of 300 km, Zolfaghar with 700 km, Shahab-3 with 800-1,000 km, Emad-1 in phase development with a range of up to 2,000 km and Sejil, still in development, with 1,500-2,500 km. Iran also has cruise missiles such as the Kh-55 with a range of 3,000 km and the Khalid Farzh anti-ship missile with a range of around 300 km, capable of carrying a 1,000 kg warhead.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards deployed missiles in January, saying they attacked the headquarters of Israeli spies in semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan and struck Islamic State militants in Syria. Iran also claimed rocket attacks against Baluch militant bases in Pakistan. Saudi Arabia and the US have blamed Iran behind a drone and missile attack on their oil facilities in 2019, a charge Tehran denies. In 2020, Iran conducted missile strikes against US forces in Iraq, including al-Asad Air Base, in response to the killing of Iranian commander Soleimani in a US drone strike, which triggered fears of a broader conflict large in the Middle East which now seems to have really begun.