Iran retaliated against Israel for last week’s strike on an Iranian embassy complex in Syria by launching more than 200 missiles and drones towards Israel on Saturday night, an unprecedented move by Tehran that could further widen the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

More than 200 “threats” including missiles and drones were launched toward Israel on Saturday night, according to Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson Daniel Hagari. Many were intercepted by Israel’s aerial defense systems including fighter jets, he also said.

IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in a televised statement that Iran launched a “massive swarm” of more than 200 killer drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.

He said Israel’s defence systems, and allies in the region, have intercepted the “vast majority” of the missiles and drones, dozens of which he says were shot down outside of Israeli territory.

Screen grabs of drones and missiles fired by Iran on Israel (left) and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Screen grabs of drones and missiles fired by Iran on Israel (left) and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is prepared for an attack by Iran.

“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. The State of Israel is strong. The IDF is strong. The public is strong,” he said in a televised message.

“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,” he added.

Fears that Israel’s war in Gaza could spiral into a wider regional conflict have been been rising since Iran accused Israel of bombing its embassy complex in Syria earlier this month.

The airstrike destroyed the consulate building in the capital Damascus, killing at least seven officials including Mohammed Reza Zahedi, a top commander in Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), and senior commander Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi, Iran’s foreign ministry said at the time.

In a statement released on Telegram, Iran’s Foreign Ministry claimed the attack showed Iran’s “responsible approach to regional and international peace and security at a time [of] illegal and genocidal actions by the Zionist apartheid regime against the Palestinian people.”

However, a host of countries from the Middle East to Europe and Latin America voiced concerns over the possibility for escalation, many of them condemning Iran’s actions.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for an immediate cessation of hostilities, saying he was “deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation.” Regional powers Saudi Arabia and Egypt voiced similar concerns, with Egypt saying it was in contact with “all concerned parties to try to contain the situation.”

Various European countries condemned the attack and expressed support for Israel, with the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, describing it on X as “an unprecedented escalation and a grave threat to regional security.”

Iran and Israel have fought shadow wars for decades, but for the first time Iran is now targeting Israel directly from Iranian soil.

Israel describes Iran as the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism; for Iran, hostility towards Israel, what it calls the “Zionist regime” is a core tenet of its 1979 revolutionary doctrine.

Iran has long prided itself on playing a long game, on exercising “strategic patience”.

Iran’s attack follows a strike on its consulate in Syria on 1 April that killed seven Revolutionary Guards, which Israel has not officially acknowledged


(This is a developing story and will be updated)

MTNews Desk

(With inputs from agencies)

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