Iran launches drone attack on Israel

World News

Iran’s long-anticipated attack on Israel has started, as the country has launched unmanned aerial vehicles from within Iran set to reach Israel in the next “several hours,” the Israel Defense Forces confirmed Saturday afternoon.
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL – APRIL 13: A general view of empty streets of the capital city as Iran launches dozens of drones towards Israel, in Tel Aviv, Israel on April 13, 2024. (Photo by Nir Keidar/Anadolu via Getty Images)
Key Takeaways
  • In a press conference, IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said the IDF is going to “try to prevent them from reaching Israeli territory.”
  • He added the IDF would inform the public of additional threats if necessary, while the IDF is on “high alert and is constantly monitoring the operational situation”—Iran has also launched cruise missiles in addition to the drones, according to CNN, citing Israeli media.
  • The White House issued a statement confirming Iran’s “airborne attack against Israel,” noting President Joe Biden is being “regularly updated on the situation” by national security officials and is in “constant communication” with Israel and other allies.
  • The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps reportedly confirmed the strikes in a statement read on Iranian state media, according to CNN and the New York Times, claiming it had launched “dozens of drones and missiles” toward “certain targets in the territories of the Zionist regime.”
  • The attacks have been highly anticipated following a strike on an Iranian embassy in Syria—which Iran blamed on Israel—that killed several Iranian military officials, prompting global concern that an Iranian strike could widen tensions across the region amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
  • Just ahead of the attack, the IDF issued new guidelines for Israeli citizens at home, limiting certain gatherings to 1,000 people and prohibiting educational activities across the country, while Jordan and Iraq reportedly closed their airspace temporarily.
Crucial Quote

“The United States will stand with the people of Israel and support their defense against these threats from Iran,” National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in the White House statement.

What We Don’t Know

It’s unclear what Iran is targeting—though recent reports had suggested Iran was planning on targeting military or government sites.

It’s unclear how, or if, Israel will respond to the attack. Israeli officials had in recent days vowed retaliation in the event of an attack. Biden had also promised the United States would support Israel in the event of an Iranian attack.

Iranian officials had criticized both Israel and the United States immediately following the embassy attack—Iran’s U.N. ambassador Zahra Ershada said in a statement that the “United States is responsible for all crimes committed by the Israeli regime,” while Mohammad Jamshidi, an advisory to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, said in a message directed to the U.S. on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Stay away so you won’t get hurt.”


Some reports suggest Iran is aiming to avoid a wider conflict, with Reuters reporting Friday that Iranian sources said Tehran had alerted the U.S. that it hopes to avoid a broader conflict.

What To Watch For

At his press conference, Hagari said Israel’s army had been preparing for the attack in advance and “all of its elements both on the defensive and the offensive are prepared.”

He said Israel has various “circles of protection” from its navy and air force with additional circles of protection from the United States. He added: “We have an excellent air defence system and it is now in full operation, but you must remember it’s never 100%—the defensive measures,” and urged residents to remain calm.

Key Background

The airstrike on the facility in Syria reportedly killed seven Iranian military officials. Israel has been widely blamed for the attack, though it has not claimed responsibility.

The strike and anticipated response has prompted concern that continued tit-for-tat between Israel and Iran could significantly widen the crisis in the Middle East, expanding out from the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

Iran has long been a vocal supporter of Hamas and materially supports other proxy groups that oppose Israel, like the Houthis in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

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