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An image posted by an Iranian of a missile launch toward Israel. Many Iranians took to social media asking Israel to defeat the rulers of Iran.

Iran attack on Israel news round-up

Israel withstood a historic attack from Iran overnight that saw the skies lit up with Iranian missiles and Israel’s defensive missile system responding to them. Below are a news briefs to bring you up-to-date on the situation.

Historic attack

For the first time in history Iran directly attacked Israel using a combination of drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. Millions of Israelis spend the night in bomb shelters, including one million residents of Jerusalem. Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Iran fired 170 drones, more than 30 cruise missiles and more than 120 ballistic missiles.  The attack not only came from Iran but also Yemen and Syria.

Defense systems thwart massive civilian deaths

The US and Israel say that 99% were shot down by Israel, the United States, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Those that made it through and entered Israel’s territory were downed by Israeli Defense Forces. Three apparently landed in Israel. Across the Middle East, countries shut down their airspace saying they would shoot down any Iranian objects that violated their airspace.

The day after

Israel reopened its airspace Sunday morning but kept all schools and universities closed. Media reports say it also sent diplomatic messages to Jordan and Saudi Arabia for their assistance in responding to the unprecedented attack.

In a sign of defiance, residents of Tel Aviv returned and headed outdoors to the beach, cafes and malls. They also resumed their weekly Sunday outdoor dance lessons, which happen across the city.

But the entire country remains on edge.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant held an operational situation assessment on Sunday morning with other senior security officials and warned the public to remain vigilant as the campaign continues.

Israel mulls response to Iran

Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said on Sunday that Israel is “preparing plans for the continuation, discussing alternatives and will do everything necessary to protect the citizens of the State of Israel. The IDF is fully qualified tonight and today and for the continuation of the missions ahead.”

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on Sunday morning called for a “crushing attack” on the regime in Tehran.

“Impressive defense so far—now we need a crushing attack,” the minister tweeted.

Jerusalem has “no other option but to retaliate” after the Islamic Republic of Iran dispatched hundreds of missiles and suicide drones towards Israel, Likud lawmaker Danny Danon stated on Sunday.

“I think we experienced an unprecedented attack by Iran against Israel,” said Danon, who also served as the Israeli ambassador to the U.N. between 2015 and 2020. “Not retaliating would be irresponsible.”

Pundits say, regardless of the wishes of the White House, Israel is obligated to respond. They point out that in Muslim culture, lack of a response is seen as a sign of capitulation and weakness.

Israel’s War Cabinet is set to convene on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. local time to discuss the country’s response to Saturday night’s Iranian attack, which saw over 300 drones and missiles launched at the Jewish state.

“In the next few hours, the decision will be made on where, when and how we respond,” Danon told JNS early Sunday afternoon.

Danon’s call to restore deterrence vis-a-vis Iran was echoed by other members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party.

Lawmaker Boaz Bismuth, a member of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said that Iran’s attack proved that Israel was not isolated and made stark the contrast between good and evil.

Israeli Education Minister Yoav Kisch, a member of the Likud Party that is in opposition to Netanhahu, noted in a statement cited by Hebrew media that “it is time to go on the attack, with coolness and discretion.”

White House tells Israel not to retaliate

In a warning that drew condemnation from pro-Israel groups, U.S. President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a phone call on Saturday that Washington will not support an Israeli retaliatory attack, Axios reported, citing a senior White House official.

“Tomorrow, I will convene my fellow G7 leaders to coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack. My team will engage with their counterparts across the region. And we will stay in close touch with Israel’s leaders.

Iran is threatening a wider attack should Israel respond militarily to its massive drone and missile assault, while also warning the United States against further involvement.

“If the Zionist regime (Israel) or its supporters demonstrate reckless behavior, they will receive a decisive and much stronger response,” Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said in a statement on Sunday.

Iranians posted photos to social media of missiles being launched. Many posts asked Israel to topple the Iranian regime.

–Dwight Widaman with wire services, including JNS.org with permission.

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