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Why Iran Attacked Israel, Iron Dome VS Tehran's Drone Salvo, US Stand | Key Queries Answered

While booms and air raid sirens shook Israel as Iran's extensive missile assault approached, the former's famed 'Iron Dome' air defense system detected and 'Arrow' system destroyed most of the Iranian projectiles in the Israeli airspace.

AP
Israeli Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran, in central Israel, Sunday, April 14, 2024. Photo: AP
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Tensions in the Middle East have gone through the roof and sparked fears of a regionwide war as Iran late Saturday launched a massive barrage of drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles at Israel in what is being deemed an "unprecedented mission" by the former to avenge an April 1 attack it believes Tel Aviv was behind.

The Saturday drone and missile salvo by Iran was ]the first time in history that the country has directly attacked Israel, a country it has not been friends with since time immemorial. Iran and Israel's hostility dates back to the Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution. Follow Israel-Iran Conflict LIVE Updates

While booms and air raid sirens shook Israel as Iran's extensive missile assault approached, the former's famed 'Iron Dome' air defense system detected and 'Arrow' system destroyed most of the Iranian projectiles in the Israeli airspace.

Israel-Iran Conflict | Key Queries Answered

Why Iran Attacked Israel

Before the Saturday drone and missile volley, Iran, to this date, had never directly attacked Israel despite decades of enmity dating back to the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iranian Revolution, also known as the Islamic Revolution, refers to a popular uprising in Iran in 1978–79 that resulted in the toppling of the monarchy on February 11, 1979, and led to the establishment of an Islamic republic. A declaration of the destruction of the Israeli state was a core ideological objective of Iran's revolution.

Saturday's missile assault comes as a result of Iran's vow to avenge an April 1 airstrike in Syria that killed two Iranian generals inside an Iranian consular building. Iran had accused Israel of being behind the attack. Israel did not deny or claim responsibility for it.

Israel and Iran have been at loggerheads throughout Israel's six-month war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. The war erupted after Hamas, a Palestinian militant group, and Islamic Jihad, both backed by Iran, carried out massive cross-border attack on Israel on October 7 last year, killing 1,200 people and taking 250 Israelis as hostage. Israel's offensive in Gaza, launched soon after the Hamas massacre, has since killed over 33,000 people, according to local health officials.

Almost immediately after the war erupted, Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militant group in Lebanon, began attacking Israel's northern border. The two sides have been involved in daily exchanges of fire, while Iranian-backed groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen have launched rockets and missiles toward Israel.

Israel's Iron Dome, Arrow Systems VS Iran's Missile Salvo

As loud booms and air raid sirens shook Israel late Saturday after Iran launched hundreds of drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, the famed Israeli air defense systems including 'Iron Dome' and 'Arrow' swung into action, detecting most of the projectiles flying in from the Iranian side.

Israel's military said its Arrow system, which shoots down ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere, handled most interceptions and noted that “strategic partners” were involved.

A video shared by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) showed the Iron Dome intercepting hundreds of Iranian drones and missiles in Israeli airspace, turning the sky into a scary spectacle.

While multiple posts on social media also claimed that Iranian missile strike overpowered the Iron Dome, Israeli military's spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said the "vast majority" of scores of drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles fired by Iran were intercepted outside Israel's borders. He said warplanes intercepted over 10 cruise missiles alone, also outside Israeli airspace.

He also said a handful of missiles managed to land in Israel. Rescuers said one strike critically wounded a 10-year-old girl in a Bedouin Arab town in southern Israel, while Hagari said another missile struck an army base, causing light damage but no injuries.

What Is Israel's Iron Dome System

The Iron Dome, used for the very first time in an combat interception operated by the Israeli Air Force in April 2011, is termed as a "groundbreaking air defense system" responsible security of Israel.

Developed by an Israeli defense technology company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Iron Dome is designed to intercept defeat Very Short Range (VSHORAD), as well as rocket, artillery and mortar (C-RAM) threats, aircraft, helicopters, UAVs, PGMs, and cruise missiles, for land and naval air defense in all weather conditions for Israel.

Iron Dome uses radar to track rockets and can differentiate between those that are likely to hit built-up areas and those that are not. Interceptor missiles are only fired at projectiles expected to strike populated areas, according information in a BBC report.

The system consists of batteries located across Israel, each carrying three to four launchers that can fire 20 interceptor missiles. There are both fixed and mobile versions of the system.

According to Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, in August 2019, Israel's Ministry of Defense and the US Defense Department signed an agreement for the purchase of two Iron Dome batteries for the US Army. Both batteries were delivered in 2020 to the US Army.

The Arrow system

The Arrow system is said to be a "cornerstone" of Israel's air defense, focussed on intercepting long-range ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere.

Developed in collaboration with the United States, the Arrow system has been seen in action recently, specifically against long-range missiles from Houthi militants in Yemen.

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The Arrow system operates at high altitudes to intercept incoming threats before they re-enter the Earth's atmosphere.

US's Stand On Israel-Iran Conflict

The United States backs Israel in most of the conflicts the country is engaged in and so is the case in this issue as well. President Joe Biden said US forces helped Israel down “nearly all” the drones and missiles and pledged to convene allies to develop a unified response.

“At my direction, to support the defense of Israel, the U.S. military moved aircraft and ballistic missile defense destroyers to the region over the course of the past week,” US President Joe Biden said in a statement. “Thanks to these deployments and the extraordinary skill of our service members, we helped Israel take down nearly all of the incoming drones and missiles.”

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US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a separate statement that US forces “intercepted dozens of missiles and UAVs en route to Israel, launched from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.”

Iran's mission to the United Nations had issued a warning to both Israel and the US. “Should the Israeli regime make another mistake, Iran's response will be considerably more severe,” it wrote online. “It is a conflict between Iran and the rogue Israeli regime, from which the U.S. MUST STAY AWAY!” the warning message had read.

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Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had threatened to “slap” Israel for the Syria strike.

Following Sunday's missile launch, condemnation also dropped in from the United Nations chief and other countries like Australia, Canada and France among others. France said Iran “is risking a potential military escalation,” while Britain called the attack “reckless". Germany said Iran and its proxies “must stop it immediately."

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