Iran Launches Hundreds Of Drones At Israel In Retaliatory Strike; Joe Biden Condemns Attack “In Strongest Possible Terms”

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UPDATE: President Joe Biden condemned Iran’s air attack on Israel “in the strongest possible terms,” and said that he will speak with G7 leaders on Sunday to coordinate a “united diplomatic response.”

“My team will engage with their counterparts across the region.  And we will stay in close touch with Israel’s leaders,” Biden said.  “And while we have not seen attacks on our forces or facilities today, we will remain vigilant to all threats and will not hesitate to take all necessary action to protect our people.”

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The president said that he spoke to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “to reaffirm America’s ironclad commitment to the security of Israel.  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 also confirmed that the U.S. moved aircraft and ballistic missile defense destroyers to the region in the past week. “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 said.

PREVIOUSLY: News networks have been showing images of Iranian drones being intercepted before reaching targets in Israel, following Tehran’s launch of a retaliatory strike.

Israeli officials said that Iran launched more than 200 drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles. So far the majority have been intercepted outside Israeli territory via the country’s defense systems, with assistance from U.S. forces, according to Israel Defense Forces. A “small number of hits” struck targets in southern Israel, including at an IDF base, but there was minor damage, according to the IDF.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called on President Joe Biden to “lead an international effort to impose sufficient costs on Tehran to compel an end to its aggression and terror.” He also called on Biden to “give Israel the time, space and support it deserves to finish the job against Hamas. Tehran and its proxies are emboldened when they see divisions between the U.S. and Israel.”

PREVIOUSLY: Iran has launched drones toward Israel today, in highly anticipated retaliatory strikes that the White House said is “likely to unfold over a number of hours.”

“Iran has launched a direct attack from Iranian soil towards the state of Israel,” IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari said. “We are closely monitoring Iranian killer drones that are en route to Israel that are sent by Iran. This is a severe and dangerous escalation.”

He said that the Israel Defense Forces was operating “at full force” to “defend the state of Israel and the people of Israel.”

CNN reported that Iranian state media also had confirmed the drone attack, which is expected to take a number of hours to reach Israel.

Major news networks went to coverage of the attack throughout the afternoon, with shots of the night sky over Tel Aviv, and some broadcast networks provided updates during regular programming. CBS broke into Masters coverage for a special report from senior White House correspondent Weijia Jiang, and Jose Diaz-Balart anchored a report for NBC News.

President Joe Biden returned to Washington from a weekend in Rehoboth Beach, DE, to meet his national security team in the Situation Room.

“Iran has begun an airborne attack against Israel,” said National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson. “President Biden is being regularly updated on the situation by his national security team and will meet with them this afternoon at the White House. His team is in constant communication with Israeli officials as well as other partners and allies. This attack is likely to unfold over a number of hours. President Biden has been clear: our support for Israel’s security is ironclad. The United States will stand with the people of Israel and support their defense against these threats from Iran.”

The attack is believed to be in response to a strike on the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, which killed senior military leaders. Iran has blamed Israel for the airstrike, although Israel has not taken responsibility for the attack, per Reuters.

In anticipation of the strikes, Israel has restricted major public events.

More to come.

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