Jordan, France, UK summon Iranian envoys over conduct surrounding Israel strike

Countries took part alongside Israel and US in successful interceptions overnight of drones and missiles launched by the Islamic Republic toward Israeli airspace

Israeli air defense systems intercept missiles fired from Iran, in central Israel, April 14, 2024. (AP/Tomer Neuberg)
Israeli air defense systems intercept missiles fired from Iran, in central Israel, April 14, 2024. (AP/Tomer Neuberg)

The UK, France, and Jordan summoned on Sunday the heads of the Iranian diplomatic missions to their countries to protest Iran’s attack on Israel overnight Saturday.

The three countries all took part in Saturday night’s effort, alongside the US and Israel, to intercept more than 300 Iranian drones and missiles heading toward Israeli airspace.

The British foreign ministry said in a statement that the chargé d’affaires at the Iranian embassy in London was summoned in response to Iran launching an attack on Israel.

“The UK condemns in the strongest terms Iran’s direct and unprecedented attack against Israel, as well as their violation of Jordan and Iraq’s airspace. At a time of great tension in the Middle East, this was a profoundly dangerous and unnecessary escalation by Iran,” the ministry said.

During the night of the attack, the country’s defense ministry said British Royal Air Force jets in the Middle East “will intercept any airborne attacks within range of our existing missions, as required.”

There were no initial reports on how many drones the RAF stopped.

An Iranian drone is seen shortly before being shot down by an Israeli Air Force fighter jet, April 14, 2024. (Israel Defense Forces)

French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné said his country will also summon the Iranian ambassador to France to protest the Islamic Republic’s attack.

“I have asked the foreign ministry to summon the ambassador of Iran tomorrow to express… a message of firmness,” Séjourné told the France 2 television channel, adding that it was “the Iranians who attacked Israel.”

IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari confirmed on Sunday morning that France was also involved in Israel’s defense, though he said he did not have exact details on whether French jets had shot down any of the missiles launched by Iran.

“France has very good technology, jets, radar – and I know they were contributing in patrolling airspace,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said his country had summoned the Iranian ambassador to protest against Iranian comments that were an interference in the kingdom’s internal affairs.

In remarks made to the state-owned Mamlaka public broadcaster, Safadi referred to comments in Iran’s official media in recent days that warned Jordan would be the next target, in the event it cooperated with Israel in intercepting an Iranian attack.

While the US, Britain and France are military allies of Israel, Jordan’s assistance in repelling the Iranian attack was a dramatic show of support from Amman, which has heavily criticized Israel’s prosecution of its war in Gaza against Hamas.

Two regional security sources said Jordan’s air force intercepted and shot down dozens of Iranian drones that violated its airspace and were heading to Israel.

The IDF on Sunday said the Iranian attack, the Islamic Republic’s first direct assault on Israel, included some 170 drones, 30 cruise missiles, and 120 ballistic missiles. Hagari said Sunday that 99 percent of the 300 or so projectiles fired by Iran at Israel overnight had been intercepted by air defenses.

According to Hagari, most of the missiles were intercepted by the long-range Arrow air defense system, and were mostly downed outside of Israeli airspace, he said, adding that fighter jets also intercepted dozens of cruise missiles and dozens of drones.

Some of the missiles managed to bypass Israel’s defenses, hitting the Nevatim Airbase in southern Israel. Hagari said slight damage was caused to some infrastructure at Nevatim, but the airbase was running as usual.

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

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