Iran launches massive wave of drones and missiles at Israel: IDF is put on full alert as drone armada closes in and Tehran vows revenge for Syrian embassy attack

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • This story is breaking, more to follow 

Iran has launched more than 100 drones and missiles to attack Israel that are set to hit within hours, after Israel announced it was closing all schools amid fears of an upcoming attack from the rogue state. 

Dozens of drones were seen flying from Iran over neighbouring Iraq’s Sulaymaniya province, according to three security sources. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said via state media that it had ‘launched extensive drone strikes against targets in occupied territories.’

The IRGC added via state media: ‘The aerospace unit of the Revolutionary Guards has attacked targets in Israel with dozens of drones and missiles in reaction to the Zionist regime’s crimes, including the attack on the consulate section of Iran’s embassy in Damascus and martyring our commanders and military advisers in Syria.’

It added that it was ordered to launch the drones and missiles by Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, and was under the guidance of the General Staff of the Armed forces, which coordinated military activity.  

Israel said tonight that its airspace was shutting down at 12:30am local time. Iraq also announced it was shutting down its airspace and suspending all air traffic on Saturday from 11:30pm local time to 5:30am tomorrow. 

Israeli schools have been shut down in response to threats made by Iran

Tensions between Israel and Iran have been escalating massively in the past few weeks

Tensions between Israel and Iran have been escalating massively in the past few weeks 

Iran has threatened to take revenge against Israel for levelling its embassy in Damascus, Syria

Iran has threatened to take revenge against Israel for levelling its embassy in Damascus, Syria

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said: 'The State of Israel is strong, the IDF is strong, the people of Israel are strong'

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said: ‘The State of Israel is strong, the IDF is strong, the people of Israel are strong’

Around a hundred drones and missiles were fired at Israel

Around a hundred drones and missiles were fired at Israel

Iranian media reported that a second wave of drones has been launched, though details of where they currently are aren’t yet known. It is not known if a second wave of cruise missile has been launched. 

The IDF’s spokesperson, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, said it would take several hours for the drones to arrive in Israel, adding that sirens would be sounded in threatened areas. 

He said that the Iranian attack was a ‘a severe and dangerous escalation’ in tensions, adding: ‘Our defensive and offensive capabilities are at the highest level of readiness ahead of this large-scale attack from Iran.’

The IDF said: ‘The air defense array is on high alert at the same time as the Air Force planes and Navy ships that are on a mission to protect the country’s skies. The IDF is monitoring all targets.

‘We ask the public to adhere to and follow the instructions of the Home Front Command and the official IDF announcements regarding the matter.’

Details about the drones have not been officially confirmed, but a retired IDF general told Israeli media that the Iranian drones had the capacity to carry up to 44lbs (20kg) of explosives each.

Surrounding countries appear to have begun preparations for an escalation in hostilities. 

Jordan, Israel’s eastern neighbour, temporarily closed its airspace to all incoming, departing and internal flights. The nation’s air defence system is also ready to intercept and shoot down any drones or aircraft that violate its airspace, security sources said. 

The Jordanian army is also on a state of high alert, and radar systems are monitoring drone activity. 

Syria is also on high alert, setting up its ground-to-air defence systems around the capital Damascus and major bases in the event of an Israeli strike, army sources said. 

Sources told Reuters they expected Israel would retaliate against army bases and installations where pro-Iranian militia were based after Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said they launched dozens of drones and missiles against specific targets in Israel.

Lebanon, which lies to Israel’s north, is also closing its airspace at 1am local time.  

It was reported today that Iran has more than 100 cruise missiles ready to be launched as part of an ‘imminent’ strike against Israel in retaliation for an airstrike against Iran’s embassy in Damascus, Syria.

Announcing increased security measures in Israel during a televised briefing, chief military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said dozens of combat planes were airborne as part of the state of readiness. 

Starting from 11pm tonight, the strict measures, which include the ban of all ‘educational activities’ across the country, the restriction of working in offices without ‘standard protected spaces’ and limits on the number of people at gatherings’, will be implemented. 

Educational activities have been banned across the country, while restrictions on working have been put in place on areas directly next to the Gaza Strip, and other areas in the Gaza Envelope. 

Israelis living on the areas next to the Gaza Strip have been banned from meeting outside in groups of more than 30, and are allowed to meet up to 300 people inside buildings. Beaches in the Gaza Envelope have also been closed to the public. 

Hagari said in the televised address that the directive will be reassessed at 6am local time, and urged Israelis to remain vigilant and to head to bomb shelters if they hear warnings.

The long-range air defence system called Arman is displayed during an unveiling ceremony in Tehran, Iran

The long-range air defence system called Arman is displayed during an unveiling ceremony in Tehran, Iran

A missile is launched during a military exercise in an undisclosed location in the south of Iran, in this handout image obtained on January 19, 2024

A missile is launched during a military exercise in an undisclosed location in the south of Iran, in this handout image obtained on January 19, 2024

‘We are taking all steps possible to ensure your safety. 

‘Since the start of the war, we have faced a variety of threats sent here by Iran’s proxies and adapted our defense and attack systems accordingly,’ Hagari said, adding that the IDF was ‘fully prepared’ for Iranian attacks. 

‘The air force’s defense and attack formations are on alert and dozens of planes are in the sky. We are conducting a situational assessment with our strategic partners, led by the USA, and we are maintaining close coordination with them,’ he added.

Hagari’s televised message came as Israel’s defence minister Yoav Gallant held a meeting with top-level defence officials, including the IDF’s chief Herzi Halevi. 

Gallant said the IDF was ‘closely monitoring a planned attack by Iran and its proxies against the State of Israel.’

‘We have added new capabilities – on land, in the air, at sea, in our intelligence directorate, within the State of Israel, and together with our partners, led by the United States.

‘Iran is a terrorist state – the world is seeing this now more than ever.’

Israeli Iron Dome air defense system fires to intercept a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in central Israel, November 5, 2023

Israeli Iron Dome air defense system fires to intercept a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in central Israel, November 5, 2023

Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from Lebanon towards Israel over the Israeli Lebanese border, as seen from northern Israel, April 12, 2024

Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepts rockets launched from Lebanon towards Israel over the Israeli Lebanese border, as seen from northern Israel, April 12, 2024

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly on his way to the IDF’s headquarters in Hakirya for security consultations with top military officials in light of the threat of attack by Iran. 

He said in a prepared televised statement: ‘Our defense systems are deployed, and we are prepared for any scenario, both in defense and offense. The State of Israel is strong, the IDF is strong, the public is strong.’

‘We appreciate the US for standing by Israel’s side as well as the support of the UK, France and many other countries.’

‘I established a clear principle — whoever hurts us, we will hurt them. We will defend ourselves from any threat and we will do so calmly and with determination.’

‘I know that you, the citizens of Israel, are also keeping calm. I urge you to listen to the directives of the Home Front Command.’

‘Together we stand, and with God’s help, together we will overcome all of our enemies.’

The world has begun to react to Iran’s strikes. 

UK prime minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement: ‘I condemn in the strongest terms the Iranian regime’s reckless attack against Israel. These strikes risk inflaming tensions and destabilising the region. Iran has once again demonstrated that it is intent on sowing chaos in its own backyard.

‘The UK will continue to stand up for Israel’s security and that of all our regional partners, including Jordan and Iraq.

‘Alongside our allies, we are urgently working to stabilise the situation and prevent further escalation. No one wants to see more bloodshed.’

The increased security measures were announced hours after Iranian commandos took control of an Israel-linked container ship as it travelled in the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s most important shipping chokepoints. 

Tensions between Iran and Israel have been massively escalating after the IDF killed 12 people, including two top military figures, in an airstrike against Iran’s embassy in Syria’s capital, Damascus, on April 1. 

More to follow.  

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