World Watches for Israel’s Response to Iran

World Watches for Israel’s Response to Iran

Israel intercepted missiles fired by the Islamic Republic of Iran in airspace over Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.

Dave Schechter is a veteran journalist whose career includes writing and producing reports from Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Iranians attend the funeral procession for seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps members killed in a strike in Syria, which Iran blamed on Israel, in Tehran on April 5, 2024 // Photo Credit: Atta Kenare/AFP/JTA
Iranians attend the funeral procession for seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps members killed in a strike in Syria, which Iran blamed on Israel, in Tehran on April 5, 2024 // Photo Credit: Atta Kenare/AFP/JTA

Already the subject of global scrutiny as it wages war against Hamas in Gaza, the world waited Monday to see, not whether, but when and how Israel will respond to Iran’s unprecedented aerial assault over the weekend.

The fanfare with which Iran announced the launch of explosive-laden drones and then cruise and ballistic missiles appears to have been greater than the success of what the Tehran government labeled “Operation Honest Promise.”

Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said that Iran fired 170 drones, 30 cruise missiles, and 120 ballistic missiles, and that 99 percent of the total had been intercepted by air defenses. The IDF said that the Arrow 3 system, designed to counter long-range missiles, knocked down the “vast majority” of the ballistic missile.

Israel’s missile defense systems — the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, and Arrow 3, developed with financial support from the United States ($3.4 billion since fiscal year 2009) — combined with air support from the U.S., United Kingdom, France, and Jordan to minimize the impact of Iran’s attack.

The most severe injury known was to a 7-year-old girl living in an unrecognized Bedouin village near the Israeli town of Arad, not far from the Dead Sea. Amina al-Hassouni, who suffered critical wounds when she was struck in the head with shrapnel, was transferred to the Soroka Hospital in Beersheba.

In the absence of anti-missile technology, the casualties in Israel might have been incalculable.

People take cover in a stairway in Jerusalem, as a red alert is sounded when drones and missiles fired from Iran neared Israel, April 14 // Photo Credit: Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90/JTA

The Iranian attack, which included missiles fired by Iran-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen, was launched about 11 p.m. Saturday, Israel time. The Times of Israel website reported that sirens sounded throughout Israel beginning about 1.45 a.m., Sunday, Israel time, and explosions resulting from missile intercepts were heard throughout the country.

The Nevatim airbase in southern Israel incurred “slight damage to infrastructure” in a missile strike, but the IDF said that Israeli warplanes continued to operate from the base.

Just days after the end of Ramadan, video showed Israeli missile defenses shooting down rockets launched by the Islamic Republic of Iran in the airspace over the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem, among Islam’s holiest sites.

Networks that monitor the spread of disinformation found Iranian television showing video falsely purported to be explosions and fires in Israel, some being of fires in Chile.

The Reuters news agency reported that U.S. forces operating from bases at undisclosed locations in the region shot down Iranian drones in provinces of southern Syria near the Jordanian border.

Jordan has been critical of Israel’s prosecution of the war in Gaza, but its air force reportedly downed dozens of Iranian drones crossing through its airspace.
Flights were halted at Ben Gurion Airport for several hours but resumed at about 7.30 a.m. Sunday.

President Joe Biden meets with his top Cabinet and National Security officials to discuss Iran’s attacks on Israel, at the White House, April 13 // Photo Courtesy of White House/JTA

U.S. President Joe Biden cut short a trip to Delaware and, after returning to the White House, posted Sunday on the social media website “X”: “Our commitment to Israel’s security against threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad.”

Meeting in the Oval Office on Monday with Prime Minister Shia al-Sudan, Biden told reporters: “Iran launched an unprecedented aerial attack against Israel. And we mounted an unprecedented military effort to defend Israel. Together with our partners, we defeated that attack.”

Statements of support for Israel were issued from across the political aisle in Washington, as the U.S. House of Representatives readied another debate over providing emergency military aid to Israel.

Iran had vowed to avenge the death of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps members, including two generals, killed April 1 in a suspected Israeli airstrike on a building near the Iranian consulate in Damascus.

An Iranian missile is intercepted over Tel Aviv on April 14 // Photo Credit: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90/JTA

The government in Tehran warned Israel against retaliating to Sunday’s drone and missile attack.

According to his office, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant informed U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin about Israel’s developing plans.

Israel Channel 12 reported Monday, without identifying its sources, that the war cabinet had decided to respond “clearly and forcefully” to Iran’s missile and drone attack, sending a message that Israel “will not allow an attack of that magnitude to pass without a reaction.” Channel 12 reported that Israel would coordinate its response with the United States.

Speaking Sunday to Atlanta television station Fox 5, Israel’s Consul General to the Southeastern United States, Anat Sultan-Dadon, called the Iranian attacks “a threat to us all, it is a threat to the entire free world.”

The Atlanta Police Department issued a public safety alert Sunday following the Iranian attacks, saying in a social media post that APD “is actively monitoring the developments between Iran and Israel. While there are currently no credible threats to our city, our dedication to protecting houses of worship and sensitive areas in all communities remains steadfast.”

The Georgia Israel Legislative Caucus said in a statement Sunday that it “strongly condemns Iran’s attack on Israel today. Georgia stands firmly with Israel and with the Israeli people. Iran and its terror proxies are a threat to us all, not only to Israel, but to the entire free world.”

Monday was Day 192 since the Oct. 7 terror attacks led by Hamas, an Iranian-backed group, in southern Israel in which 1,200 people (the vast majority Israeli) were killed and some 240 (the vast majority Israeli) were kidnapped. At this writing, 133 Israelis remain hostage, though the Israeli government believes that 30 or more already may be dead.

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