Iran launches drone attack at Israel, expected to unfold ‘over hours.’ IAF fighters are airborne on defense mission in Israeli airspace.

Iran launches drone attack at Israel

On Apr. 13, 2024, Iran launched dozens of drones at Israel but they are expected to take “a number of hours to arrive in Israel,” Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson Daniel Hagari said late on Saturday local time, asking Israelis to be “vigilant.”

Noteworthy this attack may trigger a major escalation between the regional archenemies, with the US pledging to back Israel.

As reported by Reuters, two security sources in Iraq said dozens of drones had been spotted flying from Iran toward Israel over Iraqi airspace in what Iranian Press TV called “extensive drone strikes” by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

A claim confirmed by CNN that cites a senior US administration who said that several dozen drones were launched from within Iran on Saturday.
By contrast an Israeli military officer put the number at “more than 100.”

According to an Israeli military official, in response, tens of Israeli Air Force (IAF) fighter jets are now airborne on a “defense mission in Israeli airspace.” He pointed out that IAF aircraft aim to intercept the drones before they reached Israeli skies.

The Israeli military official added that Iran could launch additional waves of drones. For this reason, Israel is monitoring other Iranian assets for other types of attacks.

“We have a very strong defensive posture in order to address anything flying towards Israel,” the official said.

Iranian drones equipped with 20 kg (44 pounds) of explosives each

The Iranian drones are equipped with 20 kg (44 pounds) of explosives each, General Amos Yadlin, a retired Israeli general, explained to the country’s Channel 12 news.

Israel’s military said sirens would sound in any threatened areas.

Israeli Air Force F-15

Long-range missiles launched from the Houthis in Yemen towards Israel were previously intercepted by US Navy forces in the Red Sea. Drones and rockets targeting northern Israel could also be potentially intercepted by US forces in Iraq and Syria.

Iran’s Defense Minister, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, warned that any country that allows Israel to use its airspace or territory for attacking Iran would face a “decisive response,” shortly after the launch of the drones.

Iran has vowed retaliation for what it called an Israeli strike on its Damascus consulate on Apr. 1 that killed seven Revolutionary Guards officers including two senior commanders.

Among the officials killed there was Mohammed Reza Zahedi, a top commander in Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), and senior commander Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi, Iran’s foreign ministry said at the time.

According to CNN, Zahedi, a former commander of the IRGC’s ground forces, air force, and the deputy commander of its operations, was the most high-profile Iranian target killed since then-US President Donald Trump ordered the assassination of IRGC Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad in 2020.

Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the attack.

The Gaza war between Israel and Hamas

The seven month-long Gaza war between Israel and Hamas has driven up tensions in the region, spreading to fronts with Lebanon and Syria and drawing long-range fire at Israeli targets from as far away as Yemen and Iraq.

Earlier on Saturday, an IRGC helicopter had boarded and taken into Iranian waters the Portuguese-flagged MSC Aries, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency reported.

MSC (an affiliate of Zodiac Maritime that according to Reuters is partly owned by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer) which operates the Aries, confirmed that Iran had seized the ship and said it was working “with the relevant authorities” for its safe return and the wellbeing of its 25 crew.

An Iranian Mohajer drone launched during military drills

Photo credit: Israeli Air Force

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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