US forces intercepted more than 80 attack drones and at least 6 ballistic missiles from Iran and Yemen, says Central Command

Yemen Shipping 010524 Photo AP

American forces downed over a quarter of the missiles and drones bound for Israel from Iran on Saturday evening, U.S. Central Command said Sunday.

American and European-allied destroyers shot down 80 Iranian attack drones and at least six ballistic missiles launched from Iran and Yemen bound for Israel. It is estimated that about 350 missiles and drones were launched at Israel in the large-scale attack.

“Iran’s continued unprecedented, malign, and reckless behavior endangers regional stability and the safety of U.S. and coalition forces,” CENTCOM said in a statement. “CENTCOM remains postured to support Israel’s defense against these dangerous actions by Iran. We will continue to work with all our regional partners to increase regional security.”

Nearly all of the drones and missiles were intercepted before reaching their targets in Israel, with the Israeli government reporting no deaths and only minimal damage from the attack. It came in response to an Israeli strike on Iranian military leaders in a diplomatic building in Syria earlier this month.

The strike has raised fears over a wider regional conflict between Israel and Iran, as some Israeli leaders call for retaliation while others pledge themselves against war. President Biden spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday to urge him against escalation in the conflict.

“This was a very aggressive and brutal attack, which looks like a declaration of war,” Israeli President Isaac Herzog said in a CNN interview Sunday. “But I also added immediately to say that we are not seeking war. We are seeking always peace.”

Arab governments in the region have also called for de-escalation, as has the United Nations.

“Now is the time for maximum restraint,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said in an emergency U.N. meeting held at the request of the Israeli delegation on Sunday.

“The people of the region are confronting a real danger of a devastating full-scale conflict. Now is the time to defuse and de-escalate,” Guterres said. “It’s time to step back from the brink. It is vital to avoid any action that could lead to major military confrontations on multiple fronts in the Middle East.”

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