Iran launches over 100 drones expected to strike Israel in hours
Offensive Missiles of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran at the military museum in Tehran in 2019. (Photo: Shutterstock)

‘We are ready for any scenario, both defensively and offensively,’ said PM Netanyahu.

By Charles Bybelezer
April 13, 2024

(JNS) — Iran dispatched more than a hundred unmanned aerial vehicles from its territory towards Israel on Saturday night, in a much-anticipated response to the April 1 killing of several IRGC officers in Syria.

The drones were expected to take several hours to reach their targets in the Jewish state.

Israeli officials told The New York Times that intelligence indicates the drones will attack the Golan Heights and an air force base in the Negev.

The Israeli Air Force was tracking the UAVs and watching for additional waves of attacks. Tehran’s official IRNA news agency reported that ballistic missiles were among the projectiles fired at Israel.

The Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen also launched an unknown number of drones at the Jewish state, Agence France-Presse cited the Ambrey maritime security agency as saying.

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said that the military had prepared for this kind of scenario and was ready to intercept the incoming projectiles. He noted, however, that Israel’s aerial defense systems were not hermetic.

The Israel Airports Authority announced the country’s airspace would close from 12:30 a.m.

In a video address to the nation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the country was ready to defend itself and go on the attack.

“Citizens of Israel, in recent years, and especially in recent weeks, Israel has been preparing for a direct attack by Iran. Our defensive systems are deployed; we are ready for any scenario, both defensively and offensively,” said Netanyahu.

“The State of Israel is strong. The IDF is strong. The public is strong,” he added.

The premier thanked the United States, the United Kingdom, France and other countries for their support in the face of Iranian aggression.

“We have determined a clear principle: Whoever harms us, we will harm them. We will defend ourselves against any threat and will do so level-headedly and with determination,” said Netanyahu.

“Citizens of Israel, I know that you also are also level-headed. I call on you to follow the directives of the IDF Home Front Command. Together we will stand and with God’s help, together we will overcome all of our enemies,” he added.

The IDF Home Front Command on Saturday night issued new guidelines, including a prohibition on educational activities and on gatherings of more than 1,000 people.

U.S. President Joe Biden reiterated Saturday night that his administration was committed to upholding the Jewish state’s security.

“Iran has begun an airborne attack against Israel. President Biden is being regularly updated on the situation by his national security team and will meet with them this afternoon,” according to a statement from the White House.

“His team is in constant communication with Israeli officials as well as other partners and allies. This attack is likely to unfold over a number of hours. President Biden has been clear: Our support for Israel’s security is ironclad. The United States will stand with the people of Israel and support their defense against these threats from Iran,” added the statement.

Earlier on Saturday, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps naval forces hijacked the Israeli-linked MSC Ariescontainer ship close to the Strait of Hormuz.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz slammed Tehran for seizing the Portuguese-registered cargo vessel, which is operated by the Mediterranean Shipping Company and associated with London-based Zodiac Maritime.

Zodiac Maritime is part of Israeli real estate, energy, technology and shipping magnate Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group.

Katz called on the European Union and the rest of the free world to immediately designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization and impose sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

“The Ayatollah regime of [Iranian Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei is a criminal regime that supports Hamas’s crimes and is now conducting a piracy operation in violation of international law,” he said.

In response, IDF Spokesman Hagari warned that Iran would “bear the consequences for choosing to escalate the situation any further.”

“Iran funds, trains and arms terror proxies across the Middle East and beyond. Iran-backed Hamas started this war on October 7; Iran-backed Hezbollah expanded this war on October 8; and since then, Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria, and Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, have expanded this into a global conflict,” said Hagari.

Netanyahu on Saturday night decided to convene the War Cabinet and then the broader Security Cabinet.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also held an assessment with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi and other security officials.

“In recent days we have strengthened our defensive and offensive array and we are determined to take any measures required to defend the citizens of the State of Israel,” according to a statement by Gallant on Saturday evening.

“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,” he said.

“Iran is a terrorist state—the world is seeing this now more than ever. We are determined to defend our citizens against this terrorism, and we will know how to respond to it,” said Gallant.

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