Iranian strikes on Israel: What’s known so far

RT, April 14, 2024 —

Tehran has launched a massive barrage of missiles and drones in retaliation to a recent Israeli attack on its consulate in Syria.

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

What prompted the attack

The strikes are 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 as it usually does with regard to 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 Quds Force stated. 

Scale of the attack

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

According to 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

A majority of the incoming missiles were shot down before even reaching Israeli airspace, IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari has claimed. Only a fraction made it through, inflicting minor damage in Israel, 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, hitting targets on the ground.

International reaction

The closest allies of Israel, including the US, UK, Germany, and 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.”

Israel and Iran have also traded accusations at the UN, with the latter insisting that it is exercising its right to self-defense in the 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 that the massive strike was a one-time retaliatory action for the Israeli actions, rather than the 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’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 was issued by 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.”

PM Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is “prepared for any scenario, both in defense and offense,” without, however, explicitly promising to take 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.


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