Iranian media: Israel 'being punished from four directions'

Iran hails proxies for joining attack on Israel; IDF strikes Hezbollah in response

Lebanese terror group, Houthi rebels in Yemen and Iraqi militias fire projectiles at Jewish state in tandem with launch of missiles and drones from Iranian soil

Demonstrators wave Iran's flag and Palestinian flags as they gather at Palestine Square in Tehran on April 14, 2024, after Iran launched a drone and missile attack on Israel. (Atta Kenare / AFP)
Demonstrators wave Iran's flag and Palestinian flags as they gather at Palestine Square in Tehran on April 14, 2024, after Iran launched a drone and missile attack on Israel. (Atta Kenare / AFP)

Iran’s proxies in the region joined its first-ever direct attack against Israel in the early hours of Sunday morning, targeting the Jewish state with projectiles fired in tandem to the Islamic Republic’s launch of drone and missile swarms.

Iranian media described the attack on Israel as “complex,” as it also involved Iranian allies in Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq.

“This attack did not come from Iran only, and this regime [Israel] is being punished from four directions,” the Tasnim news agency said.

The attack, which began late Saturday, followed repeated Iranian threats to retaliate against Israel for a deadly April 1 strike on Tehran’s Damascus consular building. A large wave of around 300 attack drones and missiles triggered air raid sirens throughout the country early Sunday, as the military worked to intercept the Iranian projectiles.

It marked a major escalation in the long-running covert war between the regional foes, and came against the backdrop of the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, from which Iranian proxies have targeted the Jewish state in solidarity with the Palestinians.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad, another Gaza-based Palestinian terror group, are also supported by Iran.

This video grab from AFPTV taken on April 14, 2024, shows explosions lighting up the sky over Jerusalem during Iran’s first direct attack on Israel. (AFPTV / AFP)

Around the same time as Iran announced the attack, Lebanon’s Hezbollah claimed to fire dozens of rockets at Israeli army positions in the Golan Heights, setting off warning sirens in the northern community of Snir.

Hezbollah announced a second barrage hours later.

Security firm Ambrey said Yemen’s Houthi rebels also launched multiple drones at Israel, in coordination with Iran, adding that the projectiles were likely timed to reach Israel simultaneously.

“Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS) were reportedly launched by the Houthis toward Israel. The UAVs were launched in coordination with Iran,” the company said. “Israeli ports are assessed to be potential targets,” it added, and warned of “collateral damage” to shipping.

Additionally, drones were launched from Iraq, which IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said — like the UAVs from Yemen — failed to reach Israel.

In a statement on Sunday, Hezbollah praised Iran’s attack on Israel, describing it as a “brave” decision that initiated a “new phase” of the conflict with Israel and the Palestinian cause, while claiming Tehran exercised its legal rights, despite “threats, intimidation and pressure.”

“The operation precisely achieved its limited military objectives, despite the involvement of the United States, its allies, and its regional tools in responding to the stunning attack,” Hezbollah said in a statement. “The long-term political and strategic objectives for this major development will be successfully apparent over time.”

The foreign minister of Syria, which is also part of the Iran-led “axis of resistance,” called Iran’s action against Israel a “legitimate act of self defense,” during a phone call Sunday with his Iranian counterpart, Syrian state media reported.

Earlier in the day, the IDF said it struck a “significant weapons manufacturing site” belonging to Hezbollah in the Nabi Chit area, near northeastern Lebanon’s Baalbek, due to the Iran-backed terror group’s firing of some 40 rockets at northern Israel, during the overnight Iranian attack.

The Baalbek area, identified in the past as a Hezbollah stronghold, is around 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the Israeli border

The army said it also struck sites belonging to Hezbollah’s elite Radwan force in southern Lebanon’s Jbaa overnight, along with buildings used by the terror group in Khiam and Kafr Kila in response to the overnight rocket fire.

People gather around a destroyed building targeted by Israeli airstrikes on the village of Nabi Chit in the Baalbek district in Lebanon on April 14, 2024. (AFP)

Since October 8, Hezbollah-led forces have attacked Israeli communities and military posts along the border on a daily basis with rockets, drones, anti-tank missiles and other means. Israel has threatened to go to war to force Hezbollah away from the border if it does not retreat and continues to threaten northern communities, from where some 70,000 people were evacuated to avoid the fighting.

So far, the skirmishes on the border have resulted in eight civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as the deaths of 10 IDF soldiers and reservists. There have also been several attacks from Syria, without any injuries.

Hezbollah has named 274 members who have been killed by Israel during the ongoing skirmishes, mostly in Lebanon, and some in Syria. In Lebanon, another 53 operatives from other terror groups, a Lebanese soldier, and at least 60 civilians, three of whom were journalists, have been killed.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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