Over 100 Iranian drones intercepted during coordinated attack on Israel, sirens and booms echo in Jerusalem (Updated: 7.20am)

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14th April 2024 – (Jerusalem) Air raid sirens echoed across southern Israel as a substantial number of Iranian drones were launched towards the region. Cities including Beersheba, Dimona, and Nevatim were plunged into a state of high alert, with residents urged to remain close to bomb shelters.

Meanwhile, sirens and loud booms resonate throughout the north and south, including Jerusalem and numerous towns in the northern West Bank, in response to a widespread Iranian drone and missile assault on Israel. According to the Magen David Adom ambulance service, there have been no reports of injuries thus far in relation to the sirens that were activated nationwide.

An unnamed senior Israeli official has revealed that Israel is planning a substantial retaliation in the face of an unprecedented drone attack launched by Iran, as reported by Channel 12 TV. The Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom has announced that British Royal Air Force jets stationed in the Middle East will be prepared to intercept any airborne assaults that fall within the range of their ongoing missions. This response comes after Iran directed drones and missiles towards Israel. The Ministry of Defense emphasizes that their actions will be in line with the necessity of the situation. Recognizing the heightened Iranian threats and the increasing potential for escalation in the Middle East, the UK Government has been actively collaborating with regional partners to encourage de-escalation and prevent further attacks. The statement further highlights the ongoing efforts to maintain stability and security in the region.

The skies above the Middle East became a battleground as the U.S. military intervened, shooting down several Iranian drones aimed at Israel. This defensive action highlights the volatile situation that has rapidly unfolded following Iran’s unprecedented drone and missile attack.

According to a senior Israeli defence official, the proactive measures taken by international forces, including the U.S. and the U.K., have successfully neutralised more than 100 drones outside Israeli airspace. This significant military response highlights the international stakes involved in Iran’s aggressive manoeuvres.

Iran, for its part, declared its military action against Israel as “concluded” through a statement released by its mission to the United Nations. Citing retaliation for alleged Israeli aggression in Damascus, the statement on X warned of further severe responses should there be additional provocations by Israel. It emphasised that the conflict should remain bilateral, cautioning the U.S. to refrain from involvement.

The broader international community has reacted with concern to these developments. France’s Foreign Minister, Stephane Sejourne, expressed strong condemnation of Iran’s actions on the social media platform X, labelling the attack a new level of threat that risks further military escalation in the region. Sejourne reiterated France’s steadfast commitment to Israel’s security amidst these unsettling developments.

On the ground in Israel, the atmosphere is tense. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has placed residents of the northern Golan Heights, Nevatim, Dimona, and the southern resort city of Eilat on high alert, instructing them to stay within reach of bomb shelters. This directive follows the identification of a substantial drone offensive heading towards Israeli territory, a clear indication of the serious nature of the threat.

Meanwhile, adding a layer of complexity to the situation, Yemen’s Houthi rebels, aligned with Iran, have also launched drones towards Israel. According to security firm Ambrey, these attacks are coordinated to coincide with Iran’s broader strategy, targeting Israeli ports and raising the risk of significant collateral damage to shipping and civilian areas.

The Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority announced on Saturday that as a precautionary measure to safeguard civil aviation in light of regional tensions, Iraq has temporarily halted all civilian flights within its airspace. The closure took effect from 11.30pm local time (2030 GMT) on Saturday and will remain in place until 5.30am local time (0230 GMT) on Sunday. The authority also stated that if required, the suspension may be extended further. In addition, According to state broadcaster Al Mamlaka TV, Jordan’s Civil Aviation Regulatory Commission declared a temporary closure of the country’s airspace to all incoming, outgoing, and transit flights. The decision, which took effect from 11pm local time (2000 GMT), was made to ensure the safety and security of civil aviation in accordance with international standards, following a thorough risk assessment. The closure is expected to last for several hours, with ongoing updates and reviews based on the evolving situation.