WATCH: IAF fighter jets down Iranian drones; footage shows minor damage to airbase

Military spokesman says Nevatim continues to function normally after attack; American official describes ‘tense moments’ when US learned Iran had fired over 100 ballistic missiles

The Israeli military on Sunday released footage (above) showing Israeli Air Force fighter jets downing some of the estimated 170 drones and 30 cruise missiles fired from Iran at Israel in an overnight attack.

All the drones and cruise missiles were downed outside of the country’s airspace by the IAF and its allies, including the United States, United Kingdom, Jordan, France and others, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

In addition to the drones and cruise missiles, Iran launched more than 120 ballistic missiles at the country, with the vast majority of them being downed by Israel’s long-range Arrow air defense system. US officials said American aircraft carriers and a patriot system in Iraq shot down 4-to-7 of the ballistic missiles.

A few missiles managed to bypass Israel’s air defenses, striking the Nevatim Airbase in southern Israel, causing minor damage to infrastructure, according to the IDF.

Read more: How Israel foiled Iran’s ballistic missiles as they headed to an F-35 airbase

A senior US military official told reporters on Sunday that it shot down the ballistic missiles with a pair of aircraft carriers it had moved into the eastern Mediterranean ahead of the strike. Another ballistic missile was shot down by a US Army Patriot missile battery over Erbil, Iraq, the senior defense official said in a briefing with reporters.

An image grab from AFPTV footage shows Jordanian onlookers and security agents standing around the debris of a missile that the Jordanian forces intercepted over Amman amid an unprecedented Iranian drone and missile attack on Israel in the early hours of April 14, 2024. (Ahmad SHOURA / AFP)

US alert aircrafts in the region also shot down more than 70 Iranian UAV drones headed toward Israel, the military official said.

A senior administration official on the briefing described to reporters the “tense moments” when the US learned that Iran had simultaneously fired over 100 ballistic missiles at Israel that were slated to land within minutes.

“This was on the high end of what we were anticipating,” and there was a degree of uncertainty as to whether regional air defenses would succeed in thwarting the threat, the official said.

US President Joe Biden was in the Situation Room with his top aides, receiving updates in real-time, and “there was a bit of relief” once the US confirmed that the defenses had succeeded.

“It was an extremely phenomenal display of the defensive capability of Israel,” the administration official said. “They were of course supported by US forces, in particular, our two [carriers] in the eastern Mediterranean.”

In a press statement Sunday evening, IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari put the total number of Iranian missiles and drones fired at Israel in the overnight attack at approximately 350. He said the projectiles had 60 tons of explosives combined, which “could cause tremendous damage.”

Amid the overnight attack, several more drones were launched by Iran-backed groups from Iraq and Yemen, as well as some 40 rockets by Hezbollah from Lebanon, according to the IDF.

“We are still in the midst of a significant operational day, after thwarting the Iranian attack. In the last few hours, we held assessments and approved plans for defense and attack,” Hagari said.

Hagari during his statement aired footage showing the damage caused to the Nevatim Airbase after it was hit by the Iranian ballistic missiles overnight.

According to the IDF, the airbase continued to function as usual, and the damage to an area near a taxiway was “minor.”

The sole injury in Israel due to the Iranian attack was a Bedouin girl who was struck and seriously wounded by falling shrapnel in the Negev desert, in a town not far from Nevatim.

Another Iranian ballistic missile hit a road in the Mount Hermon area of northern Israel, causing damage, the IDF added.

A crater is seen in a road in the Mount Hermon area, following an Iranian ballistic missile strike, April 14, 2024.

The unprecedented attack on Israel came as tensions between Israel and Iran had reached a new high in recent days. The Islamic Republic vowed to avenge seven IRGC members, including two generals, who were killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike on a building near Tehran’s consulate in Damascus on April 1.

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