Iran could claim symbolic victory – but Israel’s defence held against ambitious attack


This was an ambitious Iranian attack on Israel in several respects.

It was ambitious in the numbers involved – 185 drones, 36 cruise missiles and 110 ballistic missiles – 331 in all, according to the Israel Defence Forces.

And it was ambitious in being a multi-directional attack, targeting the Israeli homeland from 180 degrees – from Iran itself, from Iranian proxies in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and even from the other end of the Red Sea in Yemen.

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So it must be regarded as a considerable defensive success that only seven ballistic missiles seem to have landed on Israeli territory, after a long night of firing, flying, blasts and explosions.

But the Iranians did get some of their ballistic missiles on to the large Nevantim airbase in southern Israel.

Little damage seems to have been done, but it is symbolically important to Tehran since it was from this base that Israeli F-35s took off to strike the Iranian diplomatic building in Damascus two weeks ago, which Israel has not publicly commented on. However, it has initiated this latest round of heightened tension in the Gaza war.

An Israeli Air Force F-35 Lightning ‘Adir’ fighter jet. File pic: Reuters/Israel Defence Forces

So the Iranians seem to regard this as honour satisfied. Tehran has indicated it wants to regard this exchange as concluded.

But the Israelis are unlikely to take this view. Iran has taken a big shot at them; it has hit Israeli territory directly for the first time.

And it evidently intended to do much more in launching over 330 drones and missiles against the country.

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Read more:
What is Israel’s Iron Dome defence system?
Will Israel let an attack by Iran go unpunished? Probably not

Israeli sources have briefed journalists in the US that their response – whatever it turns out to be – will follow within 48 hours.

We will doubtless be reassessing this new turn in the Gaza crisis quite soon.

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