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Iran fires 200 drones, missiles at Israel; warns US to ‘stay away’

The attack marked the first time Iran has launched a direct military assault on Israel, despite decades of enmity dating back to the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran WarJERUSALEM: Booms and air raid sirens sounded across Israel early Sunday after Iran launched hundreds of drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles in an unprecedented revenge mission that pushed the Middle East closer to a regionwide war.

The attack marked the first time Iran has launched a direct military assault on Israel, despite decades of enmity dating back to the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. Condemnation from the United Nations chief and others was swift, with France saying Iran “is risking a potential military escalation,” Britain calling the attack “reckless” and Germany saying Iran and its proxies “must stop it immediately.”

The Israeli military’s spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said Iran fired scores of drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles — with the vast majority intercepted outside Israel’s borders. He said warplanes intercepted over 10 cruise missiles alone, also outside Israeli airspace.

Hagari said a handful of missiles landed in Israel. Rescuers said one strike critically wounded a 10-year-old girl in a Bedouin Arab town in southern Israel. Hagari said a missile struck an army base, causing light damage but no injuries.

“A wide-scale attack by Iran is a major escalation,” he said. Asked whether Israel would respond, Hagari said only that the army “does and will do whatever is required to protect the security of the state of Israel.”

U.S. forces downed some of the Iran-launched drones flying toward Israel, according to a U.S. defense official and two U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the matter. Israel’s military said its Arrow system handled most interceptions and noted that “strategic partners” were involved.

Iran had vowed revenge since an April 1 airstrike in Syria killed two Iranian generals inside an Iranian consular building. Iran accused Israel of being behind the attack. Israel hasn’t commented on it.

Israel and Iran have been on a collision course throughout Israel’s six-month war against Palestine. Israel’s military offensive in Gaza has so far killed over 33,000 people, including more than 14,000 children and a considerable number of women.

Almost immediately after the recent war erupted, Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militant group in Lebanon, began attacking Israel’s northern border. The two sides have been involved in daily exchanges of fire, while Iranian-backed groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen have launched rockets and missiles toward Israel.

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