Tehran has launched a massive barrage of missiles and drones in retaliation to a recent Israeli attack on its consulate in Syria A new wall mural is displayed at Palestine Square picturing Iran’s attack on Israel in Tehran, Iran on April 14, 2024. © Getty Images / Anadolu / Haydar Sahin

Iran launched several waves of attacks against Israel overnight, apparently targeting multiple military locations across the country. The attack triggered anti-aircraft defenses in Israel, as well as prompted its allies, including the US and the UK to scramble jets from their bases in the Middle East in the effort to shoot down the projectiles before they reach their targets.

What prompted the attack

The strikes come in retaliation to an airstrike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus, Syria which occurred early this month and was attributed by Tehran to Israel. The attack left the diplomatic facility completely destroyed and killed seven officers of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, including two high-ranking generals.

The consulate strike, which Israel has kept silent about like it usually does with its practice of extraterritorial attacks, has been explicitly named as the pretext for the strikes by the IRGC. The strikes come in retaliation to “the Zionist regime’s numerous crimes, including the attack on the consular section of Iran’s Embassy in Damascus,” the force stated.

Scale of the attack

Iran has been ambiguous on the scale of the attack with the IRGC stating it has launched “tens of missiles and drones against certain targets inside the occupied territories,” describing the strikes as “extensive.”

According to the estimates by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Tehran fired a barrage of more than 200 missiles and kamikaze drones at the country.

Extent of damage

IDF confirms ‘minor damage’ to military base IDF confirms ‘minor damage’ to military base

A majority of the incoming projectiles ended up shot down before even reaching Israeli airspace, the IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari has claimed. Only a fraction of the projectiles made it through, inflicting minor damage in the country’s territory, he said.

Washington has provided a similar assessment of the damage, with President Joe Biden stating that the US has “helped Israel take down nearly all of the incoming drones and missiles.

Numerous unverified videos circulating online, however, purport to show several projectiles making it through Israeli anti-aircraft defenses, scoring hits at targets on the ground.

International reaction

The closest allies of Israel, including the US, the UK, Germany and some other Western nations, were quick to condemn the strikes. Biden has convened an emergency G7 meeting to assess the situation and “coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack.”

US helped Israel to take down ‘nearly all’ Iranian drones and missiles – Biden US helped Israel to take down ‘nearly all’ Iranian drones and missiles – Biden

Israel and Iran have also traded accusations at the UN, with the latter insisting it has been exercising its right to self-defense in wake of the consulate attack, while the former accused Tehran of breaching the UN Charter. Israel has requested an extraordinary UN Security Council meeting, urging the body to designate the IRGC as a terrorist group.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned the Iranian attack as a “serious escalation” and urged an end to the hostilities immediately. “Neither the region nor the world can afford another war,” he stated.

Prospects for further escalation

Iran has signaled the massive strike was a one-time retaliatory action for the Israeli actions, rather than a beginning of a broader military campaign. Any attempts to retaliate for it, however, will be met with a greater response, the Iranian mission to the UN has said, explicitly warning the US against intervening.

Iran warns foreign nations against helping Israel Iran warns foreign nations against helping Israel

“Iran’s military action was in response to the Zionist regime’s aggression against our diplomatic premises in Damascus. The matter can be deemed concluded,” the mission stated, adding that “should the Israeli regime make another mistake, Iran’s response will be considerably more severe.”

A similar warning has been issued by the Iranian Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, who said any country “that could open its soil or airspace to Israel for a [potential] attack on Iran, will receive our decisive response.”

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said the country was “prepared for any scenario, both in defense and offense,” without, however, explicitly promising to take a direct military action against Iran. Since the beginning of the escalation, the IDF has only attacked several locations in southern Lebanon, said to have been used by the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah. (RT)