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Last updated

Iranian barrage of missiles and drones causes little damage, Israel says

Israel’s defense minister has warned that “a direct Iranian attack will require an appropriate Israeli response against Iran.”

What we know

  • Iran launched more than 300 cruise and ballistic missiles and drones at Israel, IDF officials said, a retaliatory attack weeks after an Israeli strike on the Iranian consular building in Syria killed two of Tehran’s top commanders.
  • There were explosions visible in the air over Jerusalem as air sirens rang throughout the country.
  • The U.S. and Israeli militaries shot down the “vast majority” of the missiles and dozens of attack drones. Some missiles struck a military base in the south, causing minor damage.
  • A 10-year-old girl was severely injured by shrapnel, and about 31 people were treated for anxiety or injuries they sustained while heading to a protected area when sirens sounded.
  • Iran said that after tonight's attack, the "matter can be deemed concluded" unless there is more violence.

This event has ended. Get the latest updates on Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel here

Attack a 'grave threat to regional security,' E.U. foreign affairs chief says

NBC News

Josep Borrell Fontelles, the U.N.'s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, said in a post on X that it strongly condemns the Iranian attack against Israel.

Israel reopens its airspace

Paul Goldman

Paul Goldman and Richie Duchon

The airspace over Israel was reopened at 7:30 a.m. local time Sunday, a spokesperson for Israel's airport authority said in a statement.

Flights out of Tel Aviv were likely to change, and travelers should check with airlines and on the airport authority's website for updates to flight schedules.

Domestic airports would remain open throughout the day, the statement said.

Iran launched over 300 projectiles, Israeli military says

Israel intercepted 99% of the more than 300 projectiles launched by Iran, and is ready for “any further developments and scenarios,” Israel Defense Forces spokesman Daniel Hagari said.

Among the projectiles were some 30 cruise missiles, none of which made it into Israel, Hagari said. Only a “few” of the more than 120 ballistic missiles launched entered Israel, with the rest being intercepted, he added.

Some of the ballistic missiles hit the Nevatim airbase, but they caused only minor infrastructure damage, and the base remained operational, Hagari said.

Iraq and Yemen also carried out launches against Israel, but none made it into the country, the IDF spokesman said. He added that “dozens” of rockets were launched from Lebanon toward the north of Israel, though Israel suffered no injuries or deaths and hit back by striking different targets in Lebanon.

A 10-year-old girl was severely injured by shrapnel, but there were no immediate reports of other Israeli injuries or deaths, Hagari said.

“Iran did something very serious, very severe this night, as it pushed the Middle East toward escalation. We will do whatever is necessary in order to defend the citizens of the state of Israel,” he said.

Netanyahu issues first public statement

Paul Goldman

Richie Duchon and Paul Goldman

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued his first public comments since Iran's overnight attack, saying in a post on X, "We intercepted, we stopped. Together we will win."

U.S. destroyed 'dozens' of missiles and drones launched by Iran

Mosheh Gains

Richie Duchon and Mosheh Gains

The U.S. military shot down "dozens" of missiles and drones en route to Israel, part of an "unprecedented" attack by Iran, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement late Saturday.

The aerial attacks by Iran were launched from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, he said.

"We condemn these reckless and unprecedented attacks by Iran and its proxies, and we call on Iran to immediately halt any further attacks, including from its proxy forces, and to deescalate tensions," Austin said in the statement. "We do not seek conflict with Iran, but we will not hesitate to act to protect our forces and support the defense of Israel."

Biden says he will coordinate a 'united diplomatic response' to Iran with G7 leaders

President Joe Biden said he spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tonight, reaffirming the United States’ commitment to the security of Israel.

Military forces followed Biden's direction to help Israel take down nearly all of the incoming drones and missiles, the president said. He also praised the country's ability to fend off attacks as a sign to others who threaten the security of Israel.

"Tomorrow, I will convene my fellow G7 leaders to coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack," Biden said. "My team will engage with their counterparts across the region. And we will stay in close touch with Israel’s leaders."

Though no U.S. forces have been attacked, Biden said America will "remain vigilant to all threats." He condemned the Iranian regime's attack tonight in the "strongest possible terms."

U.N. Secretary General condemns Iranian attacks

António Guterres, United Nations secretary-general, condemned the Iranian attacks on Israel tonight in a statement expressing concern over the serious escalation in the Middle East.

"I am deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation," Guterres said. "I urge all parties to exercise maximum restraint to avoid any action that could lead to major military confrontations on multiple fronts in the Middle East."

Guterres also condemned the April 1 attack on Iran's diplomatic premises in Damascus the day after it occurred.

He did not name Israel in that statement, which has not taken responsibility for the strike. Guterres emphasized the protection of diplomatic buildings and urged "all parties to respect all their obligations under international law."

U.N. Security Council to meet tomorrow

Yasmeen Persaud

Rebecca Cohen and Yasmeen Persaud

The United Nations Security Council will meet Sunday following a request to hold an emergency meeting from Israel’s ambassador to the U.N.

The ambassador, Gilad Erdan, asked the council to condemn Iran's attack on his country and to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terror organization.

"The Iranian attack is a serious threat to global peace and security and I expect the Council to use every means to take concrete action against Iran," Erdan said in a post on X, which included the letter.

The meeting will take place at 4 p.m. ET, according to a U.N. schedule released tonight.

Iranian regime exercised 'its inherent right of self-defense' following diplomatic strike, foreign ministry says

The Iranian foreign ministry released a statement tonight reiterating its position that the strikes carried out against Israel were "in exercise of its inherent right of self-defense."

“The Islamic Republic of Iran would not hesitate to take further necessary defensive measures to protect its legitimate interests against any act of military aggression or unlawful use of force,” the statement said.

The ministry cited Article 51 of the United Nations charter and said that it was responded to Israeli's "recurring military aggressions," including the strike of Iran's diplomatic building in Syria earlier this mont.

The statement went on to say that its response was a "responsible approach" amid Israel's "apartheid" against Palestinians and "military aggressions" against neighboring states.

Netanyahu and Biden speaking

Yarden Segev

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently talking with President Joe Biden, according to a spokesperson for Netanyahu.

Their conversation follows discussions by the political-security cabinet and the war management cabinet, the spokesperson said.

Netanyahu's office did not disclose what the leaders discussed.

Israeli in Tel Aviv describes fighter jet sonic booms and explosions

Barak Herscowitz is hunkering down at home in Tel Aviv listening to what sounds him like a major war.

"The only sounds you hear, in a city where you would usually hear music from a nearby bar, is of fighter jets and explosions- no other sound," Herscowitz said.

Herscowitz, 38, said he is not in his safe room yet, and is feeling grateful for Israel's missile defense technology.

Hercowitz was just 7 years old when the Persian Gulf war broke out.

"I remembered today how we didn’t really have many ways to defend ourselves from both threats of that time: massive conventional missiles with mass destruction potential, and chemical weapons," he said. "This time, we have very strong air defense, almost all of the citizens have shelters in their homes — so for me, the feeling is much safer."

An anti-missile system operates after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon
An anti-missile system operates after Iran launched drones and missiles toward Israel, as seen from Ashkelon on Sunday.Amir Cohen / Reuters

His real fear is for the long term: "This escalation is worrying mostly because it is unclear if Iran is dragging us to a much wider, longer and harder war on all fronts.” 

Hercowitz said he feels Israelis are resilient following more than six months of rocket fire from Iranian proxies.

"Although tonight is filled with an anxiety and I believe that no Israeli will sleep soundly, I’m optimistic we will get through these days in piece and the air defense will continue to work," he said.

Israeli security services say it treated 31 people

Israeli emergency services have been dispatched to treat 31 people who suffered from anxiety or minor injuries after emergency sirens blared throughout the country.

A statement from Magan David Adom noted that the injuries were caused "on their way to the protected area." It said it "continues to be on high alert."

A 7-year-old girl from the Bedouin diaspora was also in serious condition, but the cause of her injury is being investigated by police.

McConnell calls on House to pass national security supplemental amid Iran's barrage

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called out the Republican-controlled House's inaction on a Senate-passed aid package for Israel and Ukraine after Iran launched an aerial attack against Israel tonight.

“Congress must also do its part," McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said.

"The national security supplemental that has waited months for action will provide critical resources to Israel and our own military forces in the region. It will provide overdue lethal assistance to Ukraine and equip vulnerable allies and partners in Asia to deter the PRC. And it will make urgent investments in our own defense industrial base," he continued.

McConnell also urged President Joe Biden and Congress to "discharge our fundamental duties without delay." He did not elaborate on which duties he was referencing.

Biden has repeatedly said he will defend Israel against Iran and the U.S. is shooting down some drones flying toward Israel.

JERUSALEM — Israel and Iran have been at odds for decades, but what we're seeing tonight is different. Iran is directly attacking Israel, instead of hiding behind proxies or using another militant group to attack Israel, therefore, inviting Israel to retaliate directly on Iranian territory.

It's important that Iran said that after this attack, it wants the conflict to be over, but to be determined is whether Israel, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, agrees with that.

The drone attacks in Israel were the first wave of what Iran has said would be a three-wave attack. The second wave is comprised of more drones and missiles, and the third wave is ballistic missiles, which has the biggest potential to escalate this conflict into a regional war between Iran and Israel.

Many of Iran's strikes appear to be focused in southern Israel, in the Negev Desert area, where drones and missiles appear to have gotten through the air defense system.

Israeli media reported that some of the drones appeared to target the Knesset building in Jerusalem.

Biden's Situation Room meeting concludes

Kelly O'Donnell

Elyse Perlmutter-Gumbiner

Kelly O'Donnell and Elyse Perlmutter-Gumbiner

President Joe Biden’s meeting with principals of the National Security Council in the White House Situation Room has concluded, per a senior administration official. It was roughly two hours long.

200 drones, missiles fired toward Israel: IDF

Over 200 different kinds of missiles and drones — including killer drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles — have been fired toward Israel in the Iranian attack that launched just hours ago, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said.

He called the attack a "wide scale escalation" and said the IDF is operating at "full force" to protect the people of Israel.

Hagari said the vast majority of drones and missiles have been intercepted outside of Israel’s borders with the help from Israeli allies. The U.S. said it has intercepted a number of drones.

A number of missiles were dropped inside Israeli territory, causing damage to a military base, Hagari said, adding that there were no reported casualties beside a girl who was hurt. He added, "we hope she will be well."

"We are ready for any threat that will come to Israel, we will do everything we need, everything, to defend the state of Israel," Hagari said.

U.S. politicians weigh in on Iran attack against Israel

After Iran launched hundreds of drones in an attack on Israel, House Speaker Mike Johnson said, “America must show our full resolve to stand with our critical ally."

Johnson, R-La., said Israel is not alone and assured he will work with the White House "to insist on a proper response."

He also called out the Biden administration, placing some blame on it for the attack.

"The Biden administration’s undermining of Israel and appeasement of Iran have contributed to these terrible developments," Johnson said.

Other politicians reiterated Israel's right to defend itself against such an attack and pledged U.S. support.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the U.S. commitment to Israel is “unwavering.”

This is the moment for the United States to show we stand together with our allies,” the senator said. “Our shared enemies, including Iran and their proxies, need to know our commitment is unwavering.”

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, said in a statement to NBC News that “Israel has an inherent right to defend itself against these attacks from Iran and its proxies — before, during, and after they occur.”

Cardin, somewhat opposing Johnson's stance, said he supports President Joe Biden’s “iron-clad commitment to Israel’s security” and thanked his administration for taking what he said were necessary steps in recent days to support Israel as it prepared for an attack from Iran.

He reiterated that “the United States will continue to stand with Israel" and cautioned "Iranian regime leaders to not widen this already ill-conceived attack. Such escalation, especially targeting U.S. personnel and assets, should be dealt with swiftly and decisively.”

Others warned the attack could be far more extensive than it was initially thought to be.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on X, “The attack on #Israel by the regime in Iran is going to be more extensive than initially expected.”

So far, the U.S. has intercepted some drones launched at Israel and is working to do the same for incoming missiles.

Trump sounds off on Iran attack

Former President Donald Trump sounded off on the Iran attack on Israel at a rally in Pennsylvania tonight.

He told the crowd the attack was a product of American weakness.

"That's because we show great weakness," he told the crowd at the Schnecksville Fire Company fairgrounds. "This would not happen. The weakness that we've shown, it's unbelievable and it would not have happened if we were in office."

Trump added that "America prays for Israel" as Iranian missiles were fired toward the country.

Later on, members of the crowd could be heard chanting, "Genocide Joe! Genocide Joe!" to which Trump responded, "They're not wrong."

President Joe Biden has repeatedly said he will defend Israel against Iran and the U.S. is shooting down some drones flying toward Israel.

But his defense of the Jewish State has attracted criticism from some corners of his party, even pointing out on one occasion that some protesters who were chanting that he was “complicit in genocide” in Gaza "have a point.”

Rockets and flares burst across sky above Jerusalem

JERUSALEM — Israel's air defense systems appeared to be fully engaged in the early morning hours here. The dark skies above the Old City of Jerusalem intermittently lit up with orange flares as Israeli rockets appeared to be taking out incoming Iranian drones.

U.K. moves resources to Middle East to ‘encourage de-escalation’ of attacks

Andrew Jones

Andrew Jones and Rebecca Cohen

The U.K. is moving Royal Air Force jets and air refueling tankers to the Middle East "to encourage de-escalation and prevent further attacks," the Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

The statement said the jets from the U.K. will intercept airborne attacks near existing missions by the country.

"We will continue to cooperate closely with our regional partners in the interest of de-escalation," the ministry statement said.

Biden meets with national security team

NBC News

President Joe Biden said in a post on X this evening that he met with his national security team to discuss Iran's attack against Israel.

Biden cut short a trip to Delaware to return to the White House today.

Rocket fire streaks across sky as air-raid sirens blare in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM — The dark sky above the Old City of Jerusalem lit up tonight with orange flashes of rocket fire as air-raid sirens rung out across the city.

The bursts of rocket fire resembled shooting stars and appeared to come from Israel's sophisticated air defense system, not the Iranian drone attacks.

Iran fired missiles at Israel, U.S. official says

A U.S. official confirmed that Iran fired missiles at Israel and that the U.S. military is trying to shoot down Iranian missiles and drones bound for Israel.

The U.S. has shot down several Iranian drones but does not have confirmation that it has successfully shot down missiles. 

House schedule to change next week in light of Iran's attack on Israel

The House's schedule will change for next week, said Rep. Steve Scalise, the House Republican majority leader, and it will refocus on considering legislation to support Israel and hold Iran accountable.

"In light of Iran’s unjustified attack on Israel, the House will move from its previously announced legislative schedule next week to instead consider legislation that supports our ally Israel and holds Iran and its terrorist proxies accountable," Scalise said.

NBC News

As Iran launches a retaliatory attack against Israel, former NBC News Tel Aviv bureau chief Martin Fletcher reports on how the Israeli air defense systems are prepared to stop certain attacks, but explains why the ballistic missiles may still break through.

Iran says attack in response to 'Zionist regime’s aggression' has concluded

Iran said it conducted a military attack on Israel "in response to the Zionist regime’s aggression against our diplomatic premises in Damascus," and that "the matter can be deemed concluded."

The Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the U.N. said in a post on X that if Israel makes "another mistake, Iran's response will be considerably more severe," and that the matter is between Iran and Israel, and that the U.S. should stay out of it.

It said the attack was "legitimate defense" in response to the suspected Israeli attack on the Iranian consular building in Syria and was "conducted on the strength of Article 51 of the UN Charter."

The drones, launched hours ago, are beginning to arrive in Israel.

Sirens sound throughout Israel

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Yarden Segev

Raf Sanchez

Yael Factor

Yarden Segev, Raf Sanchez and Yael Factor

TEL AVIV, Israel — Sirens have sounded across Israel — in southern and northern Israel, and the areas of Shomron, the Dead Sea and Jerusalem, the IDF confirmed.

The sirens all sounded in the span of about three minutes.

Residents of the northern Golan Heights, as well as the areas of Nevatim, Dimona and Eilat, have been told by the Israel Defense Forces they are required to stay near protective spaces until further notice.

The IDF said residents are required to enter a protected space when sirens are activated. If there is no protected space, residents must find the most protected area possible and wait 10 minutes, it said.

U.S. military has shot down Iranian drones

The U.S. military has shot down some Iranian drones tonight, according to U.S. officials.

The military intends to shoot down Iranian drones and missiles when they come into range of U.S. assets in Iraq, Syria and at sea.

The U.S. has beefed up its air defenses in recent months since the attack on Tower 22 and has repositioned assets in the region to be ready for this Iranian attack.

NYPD says no credible threats to city

Matt Johnson

Iranian attack is 'severe and dangerous escalation': IDF spokesperson

Jay Marques

Jay Marques and Rebecca Cohen

Iran launching drones toward Israel "is a severe and dangerous escalation," IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said in an English video announcement.

Hagari said the IDF is "closely monitoring Iranian killer drones that are en route to Israel sent by Iran."

"Our defensive and offensive capabilities are at the highest level of readiness ahead of this large-scale attack from Iran," Hagari continued. "Together with our partners, the Israel Defense Forces is operating at full-force to defend the state of Israel and the people of Israel."

He said, "This is a mission that we are determined and ready to fulfill."

Biden to meet Iraq's prime minister on Monday

President Biden is expected to meet with Iraq's prime minister, Mohammed Shia al Sudani, on Monday in Washington in a face-to-face discussion that has been on the president's schedule for weeks.

Their topic of discussion pertains the scope of U.S.-Iraq relations, including military presence and trade.

According to the D.C.-based military think tank Institute for the Study of War, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq could resume attacks after a monthslong pause.

The militia, including other Iran-backed groups, want the United States to leave Iraq, and the meeting could produce a crucial moment during which anti-Western forces decide whether the goal of U.S. troop withdrawal has any traction, the institute said in a critical threats update on Friday.

The think tank cites remarks by Qais Khazali, secretary general of an Iran-backed militant group, Asaib Ahl al Haq, who is said to have warned of renewed attacks if the Biden meeting doesn't result in a U.S. troop withdrawal.

Those attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq were paused in February amid talks between Washington and Baghdad on the size and shape of the United States' presence in Iraq. The wider array of Iran-backed militias in the region, the Iran-named "Axis of Resistance," rejects any plan that includes a U.S. military presence in Iraq.

At the same time, Iraq's Al Sudani has proposed deeper economic, agricultural, industrial, technological and energy ties to the United States.

A group of GOP lawmakers is decrying the Biden-Al Sudani meeting, saying in a letter last month it represents "appeasement of Iran," given the country's influence in Iraq.


Sen. Chuck Schumer said the U.S. stands with Israel

"As Israel is under attack from Iran, we stand with Israel and its people, and the United States will do everything we can to support Israel’s defense against Iran," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a post on X.

Schumer is the highest-ranking Jewish official in the U.S.

He recently called for new elections in Israel to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu convening war Cabinet

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is convening the war management Cabinet in Kirya in Tel Aviv, his office said.

Earlier today, before Iran launched hundreds of drones toward Israel, Netanyahu said the country has been preparing for the possibility of a direct attack from Iran in recent years and weeks.

"Our defense systems are deployed, we are prepared for any scenario, both in defense and attack," Netanyahu said. "The state of Israel is strong, the IDF is strong, the public is strong."

He said he appreciated the U.S. "standing by Israel's side," as well as Great Britain, France and "many other countries."

"I established a clear principle — whoever hurts us, we hurt him. We will protect ourselves from any threat and we will do so with coolness and determination," Netanyahu said. "Together we will stand, and with God’s help — together we will overcome all our enemies."

Biden back at the White House

Caroline Kenny

Rebecca Cohen and Caroline Kenny

President Joe Biden arrived at the White House and was headed into the Oval Office at approximately 5:04 p.m. ET.

He is to meet with principals of the National Security Council to discuss the situation in the Middle East in the Situation Room, the White House said.

Biden cut short a trip in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where he was expected to spend the weekend.

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden walking back to the Oval Office today. Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

X users circulate misleading videos amid Iran attack on Israel

When news broke that Iran had launched a retaliatory attack on Israel, some users on the social media platform X uploaded misleading videos, including footage from previous drone attacks or imagery from video games.

In one, an X user posted a video from six months ago showing Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system intercepting Hamas rockets in Ashkelon. In another post flagged by a reporter for the BBC, an X user falsely suggested that imagery from the video game “Arma 3” was video from today’s drone attacks.

Iran launches attack on Israel that risks sparking regional war

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Carol E. LeeCarol E. Lee is the Washington managing editor.

Aurora AlmendralAurora Almendral is a London-based editor with NBC News Digital.

Courtney Kube, Carol E. Lee, Dan De Luce and Aurora Almendral

Iran launched a retaliatory attack against Israel on Saturday that risks sparking a regional conflict that could draw in U.S. military forces. The attack marked the first time that Iran has launched a direct military attack on the Jewish state. 

Israeli military officials said the attack began with more than 100 Iranian drones heading toward Israel. It will take hours before the drones arrive, and Israeli officials said they hope to intercept them.

A senior Biden administration official warned that the assault could also involve dozens of cruise missiles and ballistic missiles. 

The official said the administration expects Israeli government facilities to be targeted but not civilian or religious sites. U.S. assets in the region are also not expected to be targeted, the official said.  

The U.S. and Israel have been closely coordinating how to defend against the attack, the official said. “We’re ready. The Israelis are ready.”

Read the full story here.

Israel has 'tens of aircraft' in Israel airspace: IDF

Raf Sanchez

Raf Sanchez and Rebecca Cohen

The Israeli Defense Forces have "tens of aircraft" in Israeli skies at the moment, an IDF official said at a briefing following Iran's launching of drones toward Israel.

The IDF confirmed the launching of drones but said it cannot confirm that Iran has launched any missiles. The official said the IDF cannot confirm the type or the payload of drones launched.

The official also said they cannot confirm if there have been any interceptions yet or what Iran is targeting in Israel.

The IDF is operating on "a pre-prepared action plan," the official said, adding that the idea is to intercept the drones before they reach Israel but that they will intercept the drones over Israel if necessary.

Congressional intelligence committees received classified info on Iran's plans

Members of the House and Senate intelligence committees had classified information made available to them last week on Iran’s plans to strike Israel, two congressional officials told NBC News.

The officials said they expect briefings from administration and intelligence community officials next week when Congress returns, but those briefings have not yet been scheduled.

Lebanese airspace is closed

Lebanese airspace has been closed to all arriving, departing and crossing aircraft, Ali Hamiyah, the minister of public works in the caretaker government, said in a post on X, in light of the attacks launched from Iranian territory toward Israel.

The closure is temporary, the government said, and will start at 1 a.m. local time and will be in effect until 7 a.m. local time.

Air traffic at Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport will be completely closed during the same time period, according to the statement. Updates will be made according to developments in the situation.

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemns Iranian attack toward Israel

"I condemn in the strongest terms the Iranian regime’s reckless attack against Israel. These strikes risk inflaming tensions and destabilising the region," U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement.

"Iran has once again demonstrated that it is intent on sowing chaos in its own backyard," Sunak added.

Sunak said the U.K. will continue to "stand up for Israel’s security" as well as that of the U.K.'s regional partners, including Jordan and Iraq.

"Alongside our allies, we are urgently working to stabilise the situation and prevent further escalation. No one wants to see more bloodshed," Sunak said.

Israeli airspace closing to all domestic and international flights

Israel's airspace will be closed to all domestic and international flights starting at 12:30 a.m. local time, a spokesperson with the Israel airport authority said.

The spokesperson said the flight schedule from Tel Aviv is likely to change due to the delay in the arrival of flights to Israel and that the Ramon Airport will be closed to traffic.

Travelers should check with airlines and on the Airports Authority website regarding new flight times, according to the spokesperson, who said they will continue to provide updates as the situation develops.

El Al cancels 15 flights

Yarden Segev

Yarden Segev and Rebecca Cohen

El Al has canceled 15 flights, a spokesperson for the airline confirmed to NBC News. The canceled flights were mainly from Europe to Israel.

"In light of the closure of the airspace over Israel, some El Al flights are canceled," a statement from the airline said.

Updates will be posted on El Al's website and on social media. Customers whose flights were canceled will be notified when they can book an alternative when possible.

"El Al operates according to the instructions of the security forces and is in direct contact with them," the spokesperson said.

More than 100 UAVs launched toward Israel

Yael Factor

More than 100 unmanned aerial vehicles were launched toward Israel, the IDF confirmed to NBC News.

U.S. bracing for 'major attack' in Israel

Carol E. LeeCarol E. Lee is the Washington managing editor.

Now that Iran has begun its retaliation against Israel, the U.S. is bracing for this to be “a major attack,” according to two senior U.S. officials.

The administration’s expectation is Iran will launch more than 100 drones, dozens of cruise missiles and dozens of ballistic missiles targeting Israeli government sites, not civilians or religious sites, one of the officials said.

The U.S. and Israel have been closely coordinating on a defense against the attack. “We’re ready. The Israelis are ready,” the official said.

Commander of U.S. Central Command Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla was in Israel for a meeting with senior Israeli officials for the past several days, and now defense officials say he is traveling in the region. During his visit, Kurilla consulted with the Israelis on a defense plan that includes U.S. help from the sea and air, as well as how Israel might respond to Iran’s attack, the senior U.S. officials said.

The administration is not expecting Iran to target any U.S. assets in the region, the officials said.

IDF says Iran has launched attacks on Israel

Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson Hagari said in a televised statement in Israel today that "Iran launched unmanned aircrafts from its territory towards the territory of the State of Israel."

He reiterated that the threat will take "several hours" to reach Israel and that the IDF and the Israeli Air Force are implementing their plan that has been prepared for this moment.

He noted that if the threat is determined to arrive sooner than expected, updates will be provided.

In a separate statement, the IDF said Iran "launched UAVs from within its territory toward Israel," adding that the IDF, including the IDF Aerial Defense Array, is on "high alert and is constantly monitoring the operational situation," as are IAF fighter jets and Israeli Navy vessels.

The IDF is also monitoring all targets, it said. Hagari said they are also monitoring the threat in the airspace.

Hagari urged Israelis to be "vigilant" and to follow directives in accordance with the plans.

"We know these threats and have dealt with them in the past. If an alert is activated in the area where you are, you must enter the protected area and stay here for at least 10 minutes," Hagari said to the Israeli people. "We will update you if you are required to stay in the protected area for a longer time."

He said Israelis will be given updates and be notified of any changes in the situation from the IDF and the Home Front Command.

"Continue to behave responsibly and calmly, as you have done so far, be careful and act according to the instructions," Hagari said.

He added: "The IDF is prepared and ready for all its formations in defense and attack. We prepared for a variety of scenarios in advance. We work in close cooperation with the U.S. and our partners in the region to act against the launches and intercept them."

"But remember," Hagari warned, "the protection is never hermetic. That is why it is very important to follow the instructions and obey the instructions of the Home Front Command, they save lives."

Biden to meet with principals of the NSC on Iran attacks

President Biden will meet with principals of the National Security Council to discuss the situation in the Middle East in the White House Situation Room, the White House said.

Earlier today, Biden was briefed on the matter by national security adviser Jake Sullivan and principal deputy national security adviser Jon Finer, according to the White House.

They will later meet with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, CIA Director Bill Burns, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, counselor to the president Steve Ricchetti and National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk.

Vice President Kamala Harris and chief of staff Jeff Zients will also attend the meeting virtually by secure video, the White House said.

The U.S. military is ready to help defend Israel in attacks from Iran that are expected to last for hours

Iran has begun its retaliatory strikes against Israel, according to three U.S. officials.

The attacks are beginning with drones, the officials said, but they expect Iran to launch missiles as part of what is expected to be an hourslong operation that is now expected to last late into the night.

The U.S. is prepared to help defend Israel with ships, including the USS Carney, a destroyer that has been involved in shooting down Houthi projectiles but is now repositioned to help Israel, as well as other destroyers and assets, the officials said.

NSC confirms 'airborne attacks on Israel'

Allie Raffa

Rebecca Cohen and Allie Raffa

NSC spokesperson Adrienne Watson confirmed in a statement that Iran has launched its “airborne attacks on Israel.”

President Joe Biden is being updated about the situation in the Middle East by his national security team and plans to meet with them this afternoon at the White House, the statement said.

Additionally, Biden's team is in "constant contact" with Israeli officials, partners and allies.

The attack on Israel is likely "to unfold over a number of hours," Watson said in the statement.

"President Biden has been clear: our support for Israel’s security is ironclad," the statement said. "The United States will stand with the people of Israel and support their defense against these threats from Iran."

Iran supreme leader had warned that Israel would be 'punished'

NBC News

Earlier this week, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said at a prayer ceremony celebrating the end of the holy month of Ramadan that Israel “must be punished, and it will be punished.” His remarks were broadcast by Iranian state TV.

His comments came after Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on X that his country “will respond and attack in Iran” if it attacked from within its territory.

Iran launches drones toward Israel

Allie Raffa

Allie Raffa and Rebecca Cohen

Iran has launched drones toward Israel, IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari said in a statement, in an attack that Tehran had promised to carry out after its embassy in Damascus was hit last week.

U.S. restricts travel for Israel staff as Iran attack fears rise

The United States has restricted travel for its staff in Israel, as fears grow of an imminent retaliatory attack by Iran.

The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem issued a security alert Thursday restricting its employees and their family members from personal travel outside the greater Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Be’er Sheva areas until further notice “out of an abundance of caution.”

Read the full story here.

Israel threatened to strike Iran directly if it launches attack from its territory

The Associated Press

The Associated Press and Dan De Luce

Israel’s foreign minister threatened Wednesday that his country’s forces would strike Iran directly if the Islamic Republic launched an attack from its territory against Israel.

“If Iran attacks from its territory, Israel will respond and attack in Iran,” Israel Katz said in a post on X in Farsi and Hebrew.