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Israel says it “thwarted” Iran’s wave of airstrikes

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The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said about 99% of the air missiles and drones were intercepted.
Iran launched a wave of airstrikes on Israel, although it caused little damage.

Iran launched over 300 airstrikes towards Israel over the weekend, most of which were stopped by air defences.

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said about 99% of the air missiles and drones were intercepted.

Many world leaders and countries have condemned Iran’s strikes, but are urging Israel not to retaliate.

Context

Israel’s war in Gaza since the Hamas attack on 7 October has sparked broader regional tensions between Israel and Iranian-backed forces, including Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

Earlier this month, Iran accused Israel of striking its embassy in Syria’s capital, Damascus.

Iran said seven people, including three senior commanders, were killed in the strikes.

Iran has vowed to retaliate against Israel since the strike. Israel hasn’t commented on the attack.

Israel and Iran have been adversaries in the Middle East for decades.

Since the 1979 revolution which installed a conservative Muslim dictatorship, Iran has questioned the legitimacy of a Jewish state, and called for its destruction.

The airstrikes

On Saturday, Iran and its proxies (groups connected to the Iranian regime) launched more than 300 airstrikes on Israel.

The airstrikes involved a mix of unmanned drones, ballistic, and cruise missiles.

According to the U.S. and Israel, these were launched from locations scattered across Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.

Response

The IDF said it struck down the majority of the missiles with support from the U.S, the UK, and France.

It said only a few ballistic missiles crossed into Israeli territory. Authorities said there was minor damage to an air force base in southern Israel and one child was injured.

Response

Australia joined multiple countries in condemning Iran’s attack. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Iran had “ignored our call, and those of many other countries, not to proceed with these reckless attacks”.

The Group of Seven (G7) – the U.S, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the UK, as well as the European Union – issued a joint statement condemning the strikes.

G7 leaders also said the attack “risks provoking an uncontrollable regional escalation”.

Israel’s response

Israel’s senior ministers are considering the country’s next steps in response to Iran’s strikes.

Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz said there was a “coalition” of countries prepared to stand against Iran. He vowed to “collect the price from Iran in a way and at a time that suits us”.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also said: “Whoever harms us, we will harm them.”

Iran

Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amirabdollahian, said if Israel retaliates, Iran’s response will be “swift, decisive, and far-reaching”.

In addition, he said: “Should our regional interests come under threat from [Israel], and an attack is launched against our interests, the response of [Iran] will diverge from past actions.”

Regional response

Neighbouring countries Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have urged restraint to avoid further escalation of the conflict into the Middle East.

In a statement, the foreign ministry of Saudi Arabia said Israel and Iran, along with their allies, need to “protect the region and its people from the dangers of war”.

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