US intercepts dozens of Iranian drones and missiles aimed at Israel

The US military said it shot down dozens of drones and missiles that Iran fired at Israel on Saturday, while other allies affirmed support for Israel or pledged to help defend it.

Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, Israel's chief military spokesman, said Israel had intercepted most of the 200 drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles launched by Iran with “some assistance” from its allies.

Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said Saturday evening that U.S. forces intercepted dozens of missiles and attack drones launched at Israel from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. The United States provided no further details about its role in intercepting the attacks.

Although President Biden has increasingly criticized the way Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is handling the campaign against Hamas in Gaza, he has consistently asserted Israel's right to defend itself. In the last six months of the war between Israel and Hamas, the United States has responded to attacks by Iran's proxies in the region, including those by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia in the Red Sea.

British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said in a statement Saturday that its jets are ready to intercept air strikes within range of its existing missions in the Middle East, adding that additional British jets and aerial refueling tankers have been deployed to strengthen its operations in Iraq and Syria.

French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné also condemned Iran's attack and affirmed support for Israel. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called the attacks “unjustifiable and highly irresponsible.”

“Germany stands by Israel and we will discuss the situation with our allies,” he said in a statement on social media.

Eric Schmitt, Patrick Kingsley AND Farnaz Fassihi contributed to the reporting.

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