Israel debates response to Iranian assault

Biden reportedly told Netanyahu that Israel should see its defense against Iran as a ‘win’ and that Washington wouldn’t participate in an attack on Iran.

By Joshua Marks, JNS

Israel’s airspace reopened on Sunday morning following an unprecedented direct attack by Iran during the overnight hours that saw over 300 drones and missiles fired at the Jewish state.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant held an operational situation assessment on Sunday morning with other senior security officials.

He praised the coordinated defensive response to the attack, which stopped the vast majority of the missiles and drones, but warned the public to remain vigilant as the campaign continues.

“Overnight, the whole world saw the true face of Iran—a terrorist state that attacked the State of Israel from a distance of 1,500 kilometers [932 miles] and in doing so also attempted to employ all of its proxies,” said Gallant.

“On the other hand, the world also saw the power of a coalition, and how Israel, together with the United States and additional partners, stood together and thwarted this attack in a way that is unparalleled,” he added.

The State of Israel was attacked with “hundreds” of missiles and drones, which the Israel Defense Forces stopped “in an impressive manner,” he said.

“Together with the United States and additional partners, we managed to defend the territory of the State of Israel. Very little damage was caused—this is the result of the IDF’s impressive operations,” said Gallant.

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“The campaign is not over yet—we must remain alert and attentive to the instructions published by the IDF and Homefront Command. We must be prepared for every scenario. Having said this, we have thwarted the most significant wave [of the attack], and we did so successfully,” he continued.

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.”

Hagari said that Israel intercepted 99% of the threats, calling it a “significant strategic achievement” and noting that none of the 170 drones that Iran launched penetrated Israeli territory.

They were shot down by fighter jets, the air defense array and defense systems of allied countries.

Additionally, Hagari noted that some missiles penetrated the Nevatim Airbase in the Negev desert, causing minor damage. The base continues to function.

Earlier, Gallant spoke with his U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin about the Iranian attack, thanking him for standing with Israel and emphasizing that the defense establishment was prepared for any further attacks on the Jewish state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with U.S. President Joe Biden about the Iranian attack on April 14, 2024. Credit: Prime Minister’s Spokesperson.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden following deliberations by the security war cabinets overnight Saturday.

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Biden reportedly told Netanyahu that Israel should see its defense against Iran’s attack as a “win” and that Washington wouldn’t participate in an attack on Iran.

A government meeting scheduled for Sunday was nixed as Israel coordinates its response to the Iranian attack.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Sunday morning praised Israel’s resilience.

“Bless you dear soldiers and commanders of the IDF and IAF. Bless the coalition of nations led by the US and @POTUS. Bless my sisters and brothers, the people of Israel, for their exceptional show of resilience. Together, the forces of good will overcome the forces of evil. Am Yisrael Chai!” Herzog tweeted.

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.

While Israeli airspace reopened on Sunday morning, Air France and KLM have announced that they are canceling flights to and from Tel Aviv.

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The Iranian attack threw flight schedules into disarray, stranding passengers across the world.

Jordan also opened its airspace on Sunday morning after Amman assisted in thwarting the Iranian attack by shooting down drones and missiles over its territory.

The United States and the United Kingdom also helped fend off the attack.

Meanwhile, foreign governments continued to express condemnation of the Iranian assault, with Tokyo stating that, “Japan is very concerned about this attack, which will further exacerbate the current situation in the Middle East, and strongly condemns this escalation.”

Doha, Hamas’s patron, which has been mediating hostage release discussions, said, “Qatar expresses its concern about the developments in the region and calls on all parties to stop the escalation and exercise restraint.”

The foreign ministry added that “we call on the international community to take urgent action to relieve tension and reduce escalation. We renew Qatar’s commitment to assist all regional and international efforts aimed at achieving regional and international security and stability.”

Iran fired more than 300 missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles from its territory toward Israel on Saturday night, in what Tehran says was retaliation for the April 1 killing of several IRGC officers in Syria by Israel.