Israel strikes Iran after weekend drone and missile attack, source says

April 19, 2024

‘A lot will depend on how much damage was done,’ ex-CIA director Brennan says

Intelligence agencies will be trying to determine the scope of the Israeli strike’s damage, and whether there are casualties or how many could increase pressure on Iran to respond, former CIA Director John Brennan said.

“‘A lot will depend on how much damage was done inside of Iran,” Brennan, who headed the agency from 2013 to January 2017, said on MSNBC.

Isfahan, a city in central Iran, is a “target-rich environment,” with an air base, a missile production facility and other areas that could be of interest, Brennan said. The city was also attacked before, when a military facility was struck last year, Iran said at the time.

“What CIA is doing right now is trying to determine exactly what that damage is and trying to then see how the Iranians are going to react,” Brennan said.

“And we may know whether or not we’re going to get into this very dangerous escalatory spiral by some of the initial statements that are going to be coming out of Tehran — whether or not they’re going to say, ‘This was ineffective,’ whether the Iranian defense forces were able to repel some of these strikes, even if they didn’t,” he said.

If Iran claims there are a large number of civilian casualties, it could stoke angry reactions and precede an Iranian strike in response, Brennan said.

“I think if there is a lot of blood that was shed in these strikes, the Iranians are going to really feel compelled to be able to respond somehow to Israel,” he said.

Israel carried out a limited military strike, source says

TEL AVIV — Israel is assessing the strike’s effectiveness and the damage it caused, a source familiar with the situation said. The strike was carried out early Friday local time.

An IDF spokesman declined to comment on reports of the strike. 

The spokesman said there are no changes to guidelines for Israel’s civilian population.

Congressional reactions start rolling in

Members of Congress are starting to post reactions on social media.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., wrote, “hearing @khamenei_ir is having a blast today on his birthday,” referring to the country’s supreme leader’s birthday on Saturday. Florida’s other GOP senator, Rick Scott, wrote that the U.S. “stands with Israel.”

Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., pointed to Iran’s drone and missile launches against Israel and Iran’s financial support for Hezbollah and Hamas.

“Israel has a right to defend itself from both direct and indirect forms of Iranian aggression,” he said on X.

Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., expressed support for Israel while also attacking President Joe Biden and praising former President Donald Trump.

“No one would have ever tested Trump the way they walk all over Joe Biden like he’s irrelevant,” she posted.

Biden has not yet issued a statement in response to the strike.

Strike in Iran comes on its supreme leader’s birthday

The strike, which took place Friday local time, happened on the birthday of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

He turns 85.

Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport says flights are suspended

The information desk at Tehran Mehrabad Airport said all flights are suspended until 10:30 a.m. local time (3 a.m. ET).

Mehrabad Airport is not the international airport in Tehran — it is a city airport.

The website of Imam Khomeini International Airport, just outside Tehran, said all departures were delayed until 10:55 a.m.

Flights were suspended in Tehran, Isfahan and Shiraz, the state media agency IRNA reported earlier.

Tehran vowed ‘decisive, definitive and regretful’ response before strike

Iran’s foreign minister issued a stern warning to the Israeli government earlier today. In an interview with CNN, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian cautioned that Iran’s response to any attacks from Israel would be “decisive, definitive and regretful.”

“We do not seek to create tension and crisis or increase such situations in the Middle East, and we sincerely hope the Israeli regime does not repeat this egregious error,” he added.

Nuclear sites in Isfahan are safe, Iran state media says

State-backed Iranian media FARS reported that nuclear sites in Isfahan are safe amid an Israeli strike on the country.

“Some reports from foreign news agencies about incidents in these facilities is incorrect,” reported the news agency, which is aligned with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Isfahan is in central Iran. A military factory there was attacked last year.

Iran’s weekend strike was country’s first direct military assault on Israel

U.S. not involved in Israeli strike in Iran

The U.S. was not involved in Israel’s strike in Iran, a source familiar with the situation confirmed, adding that there was a pre-notification to the U.S. from the Israelis about the strike.

No comment from Netanyahu’s office

A source in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declined to comment on the reported strike in Iran.

The Israel Defense Forces spokesman’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Flights suspended from Tehran, Isfahan and Shiraz, Iran state news says

Flights in the Iranian cities of Tehran, Isfahan and Shiraz were suspended Friday morning, the state-run IRNA news agency reported amid reports of a possible strike in the country.

“The flights out of these airports have not been canceled up to this point, they have been suspended. Passengers before leaving, check flight information,” the news agency said on Telegram.

Israel has carried out operation in Iran tonight, source says


A person familiar with the situation told NBC News that Israel carried out an operation in Iran tonight.

Separately, Israeli officials notified U.S. officials earlier today that a response was coming.

The Israeli Embassy in Washington declined to comment on whether Israel has launched an attack on Iran.

The CIA declined to comment.

U.S. has said it will defend Israel, not engage in offensive operations against Iran

President Joe Biden told Israeli leaders that while the U.S. commitment to defend Israel is ironclad, the U.S. would not participate in offensive operations against Iran, a senior administration official told NBC News.

U.S. officials have told NBC News that Washington was concerned about Israel’s responding quickly without thinking through the potential fallout.

Iran’s foreign minister warned today of response to any force

Iran “will not hesitate a bit to assert its inherent right to give a decisive and proper response” to any use of force against it by Israel, Iran’s foreign affairs minister told the United Nations today.

Hossein Amirabdollahian said that Iran’s attack Saturday on Israel, which he said was a forced response to Israel’s April 1 attack on is embassy in Syria, was over.

“Iran’s legitimate defense and countermeasures have been concluded,” Amirabdollahian said. “Therefore the Israeli regime, the terrorist Israeli regime, must be compelled to stop any further military adventurism against our interests.”

“Certainly in case of any use of force by the Israeli regime and violating our sovereignty, the Islamic Republic of Iran will not hesitate a bit to assert its inherent right to give a decisive and proper response to it, to make the regime regret its actions,” he said.

Iran’s attack by drones and missiles was mostly thwarted, but some damage was done in Israel, officials said.

Two Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders — Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi and Gen. Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi — were killed in the Israeli strike on an Iranian consular building in Syria. Five other Revolutionary Guard members were also killed.

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