Iran wanted to cause massive destruction in Israel: Senior US officials

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Iran sought to cause “significant damage and deaths” through its unprecedented attack on Israel, senior US officials said on Sunday.

The assault involved the firing of 300 munitions, including ballistic and cruise missiles, as well as drones, officials told reporters during a call to provide the latest US assessment of the attack.

A senior administration official said collaborative efforts between Israel, the US, France, and Britain resulted in the interception of 99 percent of the missiles and drones launched by Iran.

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The attack inflicted “virtually” no infrastructure damage on Israel, the official said.

US President Joe Biden ordered measures to defend Israel 10 days prior to the attack, the official said, adding that Washington stands with Israel despite disagreements over the war in Gaza.

A senior US defense official characterized the Iranian attack as the first-ever direct assault on Israel from Iranian territory. The strikes originated from multiple countries, including Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, violating the airspace of neighboring Arab nations, the official said.

During the attack, over 100 medium-range ballistic missiles, more than 30 land attack cruise missiles, and over 150 one-way attack drones were deployed toward Israel, according to a senior US military official.

The USS Arleigh Burke and USS Carney, operating in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, successfully intercepted and destroyed between four and six Iranian ballistic missiles during the assault, the senior military official said.

The officials said that contrary to reports suggesting a 72-hour notice given by Tehran to Washington, Iranian authorities did not provide advance warning to the US.

However, a message was conveyed through Swiss channels while the attack was ongoing, the officials said, refraining from divulging its contents.

Regarding a potential Israeli response, the senior administration official affirmed Israel’s right to defend itself. “But no, we would not envision ourselves participating in such a thing [a counterattack],” the official added.

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