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Iran launches barrage of missiles and drones Israel; Why has Iran attacked Israel?

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Iran has launched hundreds of drones and missiles against Israel, in an unprecedented attack that came as a response to an Israeli raid on the Iranian consulate in Syria two weeks ago.

The overnight escalation came more than six months into Israel’s devastating war on the Gaza Strip, which has killed more than 33,000 Palestinians and pushed the besieged territory to the brink of famine. The war 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.

The launches, which the army said came from Iran, as well as from Iraq and Yemen, set off air raid sirens in cities across Israel, including Tel Aviv, with explosions heard as air defences intercepted the projectiles.

The Israeli military said that 99 percent of the launches had been intercepted. While 170 drones and 30 cruise missiles were shot down before they reached Israel, a few of the 110 ballistic missiles did get through, injuring 12 people.

Iran had repeatedly threatened to retaliate against Israel for a deadly April 1 air strike on its consulate building in Damascus.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) confirmed the attack, saying it launched the drones and missiles under Operation True Promise as part of the punishment for “the Zionist entity’s crime of targeting the Iranian consulate in Syria” on April 1.

Israel has not said it carried out the consulate strike, but is widely believed to have been behind it.

It is the first time that Iran has attacked Israel directly.

Previously Israel and Iran had been engaged in a years-long shadow war – attacking each other’s assets without admitting responsibility.

Before the Iranian attack, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon announced temporarily closing their airspace, while Syria also put on high alert its Russian-made Pantsir ground-to-air defence systems around Damascus and major bases, according to the Reuters news agency.

Why are Israel and Iran are sworn Enemies?
The two countries were allies until the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, which brought in a regime that has used opposing Israel as a key part of its ideology.

Iran does not recognise Israel’s right to exist and seeks its eradication.

The country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has previously called Israel a “cancerous tumour” that “will undoubtedly be uprooted and destroyed”.

Israel believes that Iran poses an existential threat as evidenced by Tehran’s rhetoric, its build-up of proxy forces sworn to Israel’s destruction, its funding and arming of Palestinian groups including Hamas and of the Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah, and what it believes is Iran’s secret pursuit of nuclear weapons, though Iran denies seeking to build a nuclear bomb.

Why Iran attacking Israel?

Iran says Saturday night’s bombardment of Israel is a response to the 1 April air strike on an Iranian consulate building in the Syrian capital Damascus, which killed senior Iranian commanders.

Iran blames Israel for the air strike, which it saw as a violation of its sovereignty. Israel has not said it carried it out but is widely assumed to have done so.

Thirteen people were killed, including Brig Gen Mohammad Reza Zahedi – a senior commander in the Quds force, the overseas branch of Iran’s elite Republican Guards (IRGC). He had been a key figure in the Iranian operation to arm the Lebanese Shia armed group Hezbollah.

The consulate attack follows a pattern of air strikes against Iranian targets widely attributed to Israel. Several senior IRGC commanders have been killed in air strikes in Syria in recent months.

The IRGC channels arms and equipment, including high precision missiles, through Syria to Hezbollah. Israel is trying to stop these deliveries, as well as seeking to prevent Iran from strengthening its military presence in Syria.

G7 Condemns Iran Attack On Israel, Calls For Restraint

G7 leaders today unanimously condemned Iran’s unprecedented attack against Israel and urged that all parties must exercise restraint.

“We will continue all our efforts to work towards de-escalation. Ending the crisis in Gaza as soon as possible, notably through an immediate ceasefire, will make a difference. The situation in the Middle-East, including Lebanon, will be discussed at the European Council next week,” President of the European Council Charles Michel said on X.

India stressed to avoid escalation

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar today said he spoke with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and discussed the situation in West Asia. The telephonic conversation between the two leaders came after Iran attacked Israel.

He also discussed the release of 17 Indian crew members on a cargo ship seized by Iranian military on Saturday.

“Spoke to Iranian FM this evening. Took up the release of 17 Indian crew members of MSC Aries. Discussed the current situation in the region. Stressed the importance of avoiding escalation, exercising restraint and returning to diplomacy. Agreed to remain in touch,” Mr Jaishankar said on X.

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