UK deploys several jets, air refuelling tankers in response to Iranian attack on Israel

After Iran launched drones into Israel in retaliation to the air strike on its embassy in Syria, the UK moved several additional Royal Air Force jets and air refuelling tankers to the region, the country’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement on Sunday.

It said the deployed jets will intercept airborne attacks within range of the UK’s existing mission.

“In response to increased Iranian threats and the growing risk of escalation in the Middle East, the UK Government has been working with partners across the region to encourage de-escalation and prevent further attacks,” the statement read.

“We have moved several additional Royal Air Force jets and air refuelling tankers to the region.

These will bolster Operation Shader, which is the UK’s existing counter-Daesh operation in Iraq and Syria.

In addition, these UK jets will intercept any airborne attacks within range of our existing missions, as required.

We will continue to cooperate closely with our regional partners in the interest of de-escalation,” it added.

Meanwhile, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Daniel Hagari said Saturday that Israel “intercepted a vast majority” of the strikes from Iran.

IDF estimates that Iran launched over “200 different kinds” of drones, including killer drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, Hagari said in response to a question, CNN reported.

“Our planes are still in the air intercepting targets and we are ready for any threat that will come to Israel,” Hagari said, adding, “We will do everything we need, everything to defend the state of Israel.”

Earlier, on Saturday, Tehran, in response to Israeli strike on its consulate in Syria that left three of its top military generals dead, launched an unprecedented aerial attack from its soil, escalating already boiling regional tensions to new levels.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) announced Saturday that they had fired dozens of drones and missiles toward Israel; an Israeli official put the number of drones at more than 100.

As of early Sunday, it appeared that many of the projectiles were intercepted by the Israeli and US militaries, CNN reported.

According to CNN, the launch marked the first-ever attack on Israel from Iranian territory.

The two countries are enemy states, but neither had ever launched a direct and overt attack on the other’s soil, though Israel’s April 1 strike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus took place on what is technically considered to be sovereign Iranian territory, as per diplomatic convention.

For 12 days, the regime vowed revenge, with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei appearing before a crowd wielding a rifle as he vowed to retaliate.

US officials said they anticipated Iran’s response to be calibrated to avoid an all-out war, but Tehran is also seeking to reassert itself as a regional force–a tightrope that it has sought to walk since the Israel-Hamas war began in October, the report noted.