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US shoots down ‘nearly all’ Iran-launched attack drones as Biden vows support for Israel’s defense

The attack marked the first time Iran has launched a direct military assault on Israel, risking a wider regional conflict.

BidenWASHINGTON: President Joe Biden on Saturday lauded American forces who helped Israel down “nearly all” of the drones and missiles fired by Iran and vowed to coordinate a global response to Tehran’s unprecedented attack.

With regional tensions at their highest since the Israel-Hamas war began six months ago, Biden pledged that American support for Israel’s defense against attacks by Iran and its proxies is “ironclad.” The attack marked the first time Iran has launched a direct military assault on Israel, risking a wider regional conflict.

The U.S. and Israel had been bracing for an attack for days after Iran said it would retaliate for a suspected Israeli strike this month on an Iranian consular building in Syria that killed 12 people, including two senior Iranian generals in the Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force.

“At my direction, to support the defense of Israel, the U.S. military moved aircraft and ballistic missile defense destroyers to the region over the course of the past week,” Biden said in a statement late Saturday. “Thanks to these deployments and the extraordinary skill of our servicemembers, we helped Israel take down nearly all of the incoming drones and missiles.”

Biden had cut short a weekend stay at his Delaware beach house to meet with his national security team at the White House on Saturday afternoon, returning to Washington minutes before Israeli officials confirmed that they had detected drones being launched toward their territory from Iran.

He convened a principals meeting of the National Security Council in the White House Situation Room to discuss the unfolding situation, the White House said, before speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu late Saturday.

“I told him that Israel demonstrated a remarkable capacity to defend against and defeat even unprecedented attacks – sending a clear message to its foes that they cannot effectively threaten the security of Israel,” Biden said.

Biden added that he would convene a meeting of the Group of Seven advanced democracies on Sunday “to coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack.”

The Pentagon reported that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had spoken with his Israeli counterpart “to discuss urgent regional threats … and made clear that Israel could count on full U.S. support to defend Israel against any attacks by Iran and its regional proxies.” National security adviser Jake Sullivan also spoke with his counterpart to reinforce Washington’s “ironclad commitment to the security of Israel.”

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