Iran Attacks Israel, Escalating Conflict; US Calls Support Of Israel ‘Ironclad’

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By Michael Lipin

Iran has launched an aerial attack on Israel from Iranian territory, marking a major escalation in a long running conflict between the two rival regional powers. 

Iran’s top military force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, issued a pre-dawn statement on Sunday saying that it launched “dozens of missiles and drones” from Iranian territory toward Israel. It said the attack was in retaliation for what Iranian officials say was an Israeli strike that killed several senior Iranian military commanders in Damascus, Syria, on April 1. 

The Israeli military, which has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the April 1 strike, issued a statement saying its air and naval forces were monitoring the Iranian attack. 

In a phone interview with VOA, Israeli Brigadier General in reserves Jacob Nagel, a former national security adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the Israeli air force likely has started to intercept Iranian drones over the airspace of neighboring Arab countries. Such drones would take several hours to reach Israeli airspace from Iran. 

Nagel, a senior fellow with the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said he was speaking based on what he knows of Israeli military capabilities and preparations for an Iranian attack. 

Israel Defense Forces spokesman Daniel Hagari, in a video message posted on the social media platform known as X, said Iran also had fired missiles in its aerial assault. 

Netanyahu said in a televised message that Israel will defend itself “against any threat and will do so level-headedly and with determination.” 

The Biden administration said the United States will “stand with the people of Israel and support their defense against these threats from Iran.” 

White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson issued a statement saying, “This attack is likely to unfold over a number of hours. President [Joe] Biden has been clear: our support for Israel’s security is ironclad.” 

Netanyahu acknowledged that support in his own statement, saying, “We appreciate the U.S. standing alongside Israel, as well as the support of Britain, France and many other countries.” 

In a post on the X, Iran’s U.N. mission in New York said the aerial attack on Israel marks the conclusion of Tehran’s military action.

It added: “Should the Israeli regime make another mistake, Iran’s response will be considerably more severe. It is a conflict between Iran and the rogue Israeli regime, from which the U.S. MUST STAY AWAY!” 

Nagel said the Iranian attack, the first of its kind in decades of hostility between the Islamic republic and Israel, likely will be a turning point in the conflict. 

“Probably we are going to see a regional confrontation, because it is not only Iran against Israel, but Iran against the free world,” he said.

VOA

The VOA is the Voice of America

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