Live updates: Iran will respond within seconds of Israeli counter-strike, official says

Israel hailed the success of its defenses in the face of an unprecedented attack by Iran of more than 300 drones and missiles

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Josh Einiger reports from Israel
Josh Einiger reports from Israel as Cardinal Dolan visits the region amid the Israel-Hamas war and tensions with Iran.

JERUSALEM -- Israel has said it will respond to Iran's unprecedented missile and drone attack over the weekend, but the question that remains is how they will respond.

Israel's military chief said Monday that the country will respond after Iran launched an attack involving hundreds of drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. World leaders are urging Israel not to retaliate.

An Iranian official says his country will respond within "seconds" if Israel seeks to retaliate for its attack over the weekend.

The Iranian attack on Saturday marked the first time Iran has launched a direct military assault on Israel, despite decades of enmity dating back to the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution. The attack happened less than two weeks after a suspected Israeli strike in Syria that killed two Iranian generals in an Iranian consular building.

An Israeli military spokesman said that 99% of the drones and missiles launched by Iran were intercepted.

Israel and Iran have been on a collision course throughout Israel's six-month war against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. The war erupted after Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two militant groups backed by Iran, carried out a devastating cross-border attack on Oct. 7 that killed 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped 250 others.

An Israeli offensive in Gaza has caused widespread devastation and killed over 33,700 people, according to local health officials.


Information from Eyewitness News, ABC News and the Associated Press

Official says Iran will respond within seconds of Israeli counter-strike

An Iranian official says his country will respond within "seconds" if Israel seeks to retaliate for its attack over the weekend. Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani said late Monday that Israel will face a "resolute and hard response" if it takes further action against Iran.

Iran launched hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel over the weekend in response to an apparent Israeli strike on its embassy compound in Syria on April 1 that killed two Iranian generals.

With help from the United States, the United Kingdom, Jordan and other countries, Israel managed to intercept nearly all the projectiles and prevent major casualties or damage. It was the first time Iran has launched a direct military strike on Israel after decades of enmity going back to Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.

But Bagheri Kani said "there will not be a 12 or 13-day gap between a Zionist regime move and Iran's powerful response anymore. The Zionists must now reckon in seconds, not hours."

Israel's military chief, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, said Monday that his country will respond to the Iranian attack without saying when or how. The U.S. and other allies of Israel have urged against any further escalation.

Close-up look at Iranian ballistic missile

Eyewitness News reporter Josh Einiger continues his reports from Israel where he got an up-close look at an Iranian ballistic missile.

Israeli military spokesperson displays to the media one of the Iranian ballistic missiles Israel intercepted over the weekend, in southern Israel, Tuesday, April 16, 2024.
AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov

The giant fuel cell wound up on the Dead Sea or they found it in the last 24 hours and they carted it to a military installation where they're going to inspect it and figure out more information about how it was intercepted by their own forces.

They hope it will provide them research and how to improve their missile defense capability that much more.

Josh Einiger reports the updates from an Israeli military base in South Israel.

Cardinal Dolan meets with families of hostages

Cardinal Dolan met with families of Israeli hostages being held by Hamas.

He said Israel is a land of broken hearts, but he was encouraged by the families he met who said they will not give up on peace or justice.

World leaders warn Israel not to retaliate

World leaders are urging Israel not to retaliate after Iran launched an attack involving hundreds of drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron told the BBC on Monday the U.K. does not support a retaliatory strike, while French President Emmanuel Macron said Paris will try to "convince Israel that we must not respond by escalating."

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says "all sides must show restraint" to avoid a rising spiral of violence in the Middle East.

Austria's foreign minister has spoken with his Iranian counterpart to condemn Tehran's attack on Israel and call on Iran to rein in its proxies in the Middle East.

Alexander Schallenberg said in a statement he told Iran's Hossein Amirabdollahian on Monday that "we cannot afford another front in the Middle East. There would only be losers, in the region and beyond."

Meanwhile German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is calling on Israel to "contribute to de-escalation" in the Middle East following Iran's attack on the country.

Scholz told reporters in Shanghai on Monday that "Iran must stop this aggression." Asked whether he will attempt to dissuade Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from a military response to Saturday night's attack, he said there's widespread agreement that Israel's success in largely repelling the attack with allies' help was "really impressive."

He added that "this is a success that perhaps also should not be thrown away. Hence also our advice to contribute to de-escalation themselves." Germany is a staunch ally of Israel.

Cardinal Dolan continues peace mission in Israel

Cardinal Timothy Dolan continues his weeklong mission for peace but found himself hustling for shelter when the missiles approached Jerusalem.

On Monday he met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog as the war cabinet deliberates for a second day on how to respond to the weekend onslaught.

"The caricature is that there are these knee-jerk reactions, we react immediately, I get the impression the government puts a lot of thought, a lot of consultation, a lot of strategy into this, alright," Dolan said. "And that's a good thing that we try not to act on emotion all the time but that we're thoughtful, I get that impression, we didn't talk to much about the military part of it but knowing him and that he's having a hand in this, I'm saying hey this is good news."

UN Security Council concerned about risk of escalation

A United Nations Security Council meeting on Yemen on Monday touched on the risk of escalation after Iran's attack on Israel.

Diplomats are calling this "a particularly dangerous moment in the Middle East," as U.N. special envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg said.

"The need for broader regional de-escalation is acute," he added. "I share the secretary-general's alarm about the very real danger of regionwide escalation and his urging to all parties for maximum restraint."

A U.N. Security Council emergency meeting Sunday to discuss the attack ended without any action taken.

"Now is the time to defuse and de-escalate," U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said. "Now is the time for maximum restraint."

Iran's ballistic missiles

Iran had about 150 ballistic missiles capable of reaching Israel from Iranian territory, and appears to have used up most of that current stockpile in its weekend attack, retired Gen. Frank McKenzie, the former head of U.S. CENTCOM said Monday.

McKenzie discussed the attack in a panel discussion with the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, a Washington-based think tank and lobbying group.

McKenzie argued that Iran's expenditure of those 150 long-range missiles, out of a total ballistic missile stockpile of about 3,000, showed that Iran's barrage on Israel "was a maximum effort. It was an indiscriminate effort."

The U.S. and its partners in the region are easily able to track when Iran brings its ballistic missiles out of storage and positions them on launch pads, he said.

When Iran launches, deep space sensors detect that immediately, he said. Radars in the region then catch when any missiles break the radar plane, he said.

Especially given the distance involved, "it is hard for Iran to generate a bolt from the blue against Israel," McKenzie said.

Oil prices fall after Iran's strike on Israel is thwarted

Oil prices fell on Monday after Iran's missile and drone strike failed to cause widespread damage in Israel and the U.S. administration made it clear it did not support a wider war with Iran.

Analysts say the chief risk to oil prices from the Israel-Hamas war is if the conflict escalates and disrupts oil supplies from Iran and Persian Gulf producers through the Strait of Hormuz choke point.

The stance taken by Iran, which said the matter "can be deemed concluded" with the retaliatory strikes, and the U.S. position reassured oil traders, who sent the price of international benchmark Brent crude 0.7% lower to $89.82 per barrel in Monday morning trading. That is below the levels just above $90 per barrel seen on Friday before the weekend attacks.

Risks that could send prices higher include any Israeli strike against Iranian oil facilities or tougher enforcement of sanctions against Iran by the U.S. "Any retaliation by Israel ... especially one that targets Iran's oil facilities, will have major implications for energy markets," said analysts at S&P Global.

Tougher sanctions enforcement against Iranian oil shipments by the U.S. could raise oil prices but would risk higher inflation and pump prices for U.S. motorists in an election year.

Biden to host Iraqi leader as Mideast tensions soar

President Joe Biden is set to host Iraq's leader this week for talks that come as tensions across the Middle East have soared over the war in Gaza and Iran's attack on Israel in retaliation for an Israeli military strike against an Iranian facility in Syria.

The sharp rise in security fears has raised further questions about the viability of the two-decade American military presence in Iraq. Iranian proxies there have launched attacks against U.S. interests throughout the region.

Monday's meeting between Biden and Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani will include a discussion of regional stability and future U.S. troop deployments but will also focus on economic, trade and energy issues.

President Biden and Jordanian King Abdulla II speak on the phone

President Joe Biden and Jordanian King Abdullah II spoke on the phone Sunday about Iran's attack on Israel, according to the White House.

The two leaders discussed Iran's "unprecedented attack" on Israel, the White House said without elaborating.

Earlier Sunday, Biden met with G7 leaders, who jointly condemned Iran's attack on Israel.

"We, the Leaders of the G7, unequivocally condemn in the strongest terms Iran's direct and unprecedented attack against Israel. Iran fired hundreds of drones and missiles toward Israel. Israel, with the help of its partners, defeated the attack," the G7 leaders said in a joint statement.

The statement added, "We express our full solidarity and support to Israel and its people and reaffirm our commitment towards its security."

Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon reopen airspace after Iran attacks Israel

Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon have reopened their airspaces following Iran's attack on Israel, though some restrictions remain in the region.

"At 8:15 a.m., the Authority reopened the Kingdom's airspace to air traffic after re-evaluating the risks according to national and international standards for the safety and security of civil aviation," the Jordan Civil Aviation Regulatory Commission said in an X post, formerly Twitter.

Lebanese state TV announced the Beirut Airport will resume operations.

The Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority said the airspace had reopened after "overcoming all risks that affect the security and safety of civil aviation in Iraq."

INTERVIEW | Former FBI Special Agent weighs in on NYC security concerns

Former FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard Frankel discusses security measures New York City may take following the attack on Israel.

Iranian president warns of 'heavier' response if Israel strikes again

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi claimed Sunday that Iran had taught Israel a lesson and warned of a "heavier" response to "any new adventures against the interests of the Iranian nation."

Iran said Israel was targeted in retaliation for its strike earlier this month on the Iranian Consulate in Damascus, Syria, that killed a top Iranian military leader.

"Following the instructions of Imam Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, and with the support of the proud nation and the powerful armed forces of Islamic Iran, I emphasize that any new adventure against the interests of the Iranian nation will be responded with a heavier and regrettable response from the Islamic Republic of Iran," Raisi said.

10-year-old hit by shrapnel, IDF says

A 10-year-old girl injured in Iran's attack on Israel is reportedly the only casualty of the airstrikes, a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces said Sunday.

The girl was "severely injured by shrapnel," apparently from an intercepted missile, IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said.

"We wish her a speedy recovery," Hagari said. "Other than her, as far as we know, there are no additional casualties."

Iran launched 300 "threats of various types" at Israel on Saturday, Hagari said, including 170 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), more than 120 ballistic missiles, and over 30 cruise missiles.

INTERVIEW | Rabbi and Yeshiva University President discusses the impact of Israel-Hamas conflict on education

Rabbi Ari Berman, president of Yeshiva University, discusses how the crisis in the Middle East is impacting college campuses.

Kirby says it's up to Israel on how to respond to attack

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told ABC's "Good Morning America" Sunday that any response to Iran's Saturday night attack is up to Israeli forces.

But Kirby stressed that President Joe Biden does not want the situation to escalate or have the U.S. drawn further into any conflict.

When asked by ABC News' Whit Johnson about a response from Israel, Kirby said that it is up to the Israeli government to decide how to respond. He added that "the damage was extremely light," and the defenses in place proved Israel can defend itself.

"I won't speak for the Israelis. It's going to be up to them to decide whether and how they'll respond to this," Kirby said. "They showed last night, an incredible military capability on their own, but certainly in concert with friends."

When pressed about reports that Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the U.S. would oppose a counterattack on Iran, Kirby said it was "not an accurate reading" of the president's message. He emphasized that the White House does not "want to see the situation escalate further."

INTERVIEW | Jewish National Fund bringing aid, coordinating volunteers in Israel

Deena Shiff, the USA chief of staff of the Jewish National Fund, discusses her organization's relief efforts.

Blinken condemns attack

Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned Iran's attack on Israel, saying the U.S. doesn't seek escalation but will support Israel's right to defend itself and will protect U.S. personnel in the Middle East.

"The United States condemns Iran's attack on Israel in the strongest terms," Blinken said in a statement.

He added that he'll be "consulting with allies and partners in the region and around the world in the hours and days ahead."

New York City, Tri-State on alert following attack

In New York, Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams say there are no credible threats, but law enforcement is on alert.

A security expert tells Eyewitness News that law enforcement will be keeping an eye on potential targets associated with New York's Jewish, Palestinian and Persian American communities - to keep Americans and New Yorkers safe.


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