Iran Threatens ‘Stronger Response’ If Israel Retaliates For Attack

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned Israel on Sunday against taking any “reckless” action in response to Tehran’s unprecedented drone strike against Israel in retaliation for an attack that killed seven Iranian military officials. World leaders looked on with trepidation over conflict spreading across the Middle East and urged restraint on both sides.

On Saturday, Iran launched the first direct attack by Iranians on Israeli territory in history, marking an unprecedented escalation in a longstanding covert war between regional enemies working as proxies for the strategic rivalry between Israel and Iran. That was after an Israeli airstrike against Iranian targets left seven Iranian military officials dead.

Tehran warned Israel for days that it would retaliate for the April 1 airstrike on Iran’s embassy in Damascus. Foreign intelligence authorities in Washington warned that the planned response was imminent.

That response came late on Saturday as Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles toward Israel, injuring 12 people, according to the Israeli army. Fortunately for the intended targets — the Israeli Defense Forces, U.S. and U.K. militaries and the Jordanian military were able to shoot down most of the drones.

According to Israeli military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the allied militaries were able to intercept and destroy 99% of the drones and missiles, announcing that “the Iranian attack was foiled.”

The Western, Jordanian and Israeli militaries were able to shoot down 170 drones and 30 cruise missiles before they reached their targets in Israel, but a few of the drones did get through allied defenses.

A seven-year-old girl near the southern Israeli city of Arad was among the wounded after the attack. She has been in intensive care since arriving at a medical center to receive treatment for her injuries.

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

NATO spokeswoman Farah Dakhlallah said the treaty organization condemns “Iran’s overnight escalation. It is vital that the conflict in the Middle East does not spiral out of control.”