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Fallout continues from Iran’s attack on Israel Saturday night, a full BICOM briefing on which can be found at our website here. Updates since yesterday morning include:

  • According to ABC, of the roughly 110 ballistic missiles launched by Iran, at least nine breached the Israeli air-defence systems and struck two IAF airbases in the Negev. An American official told the network that five missiles struck the Nevatim airbase. A Hercules cargo plane was damaged, as was an out-of-service runway and empty storage facilities. Four missiles struck the second base, which was not named. No serious damage was caused as a result.
  • US CENTCOM, meanwhile, has confirmed the extent of the US role in thwarting Iranian drones and missiles during the attack. US forces, supported by US European Command destroyers destroyed more than 80 one-way attack drones and at least six ballistic missiles aimed at Israel from Iran and Yemen last night. This includes a ballistic missile on its launcher vehicle and seven UAVs destroyed on the ground prior to their launch in areas controlled by Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, CENTCOM says in a post on X. 80 UAVs would account for nearly half of the 170 drones that the IDF said were fired by Iran at Israel. “CENTCOM remains postured to support Israel’s defence against these dangerous actions by Iran. We will continue to work with all our regional partners to increase regional security,” the US military said.
  • Home Front Command announced at midnight last night that all educational activities across Israel can now be resumed normally. Military officials explained the decision by saying that it had been important to wait at least 24 hours to make sure the Shiite militias in the region were not preparing additional attacks.
  • At an overnight UN Security Council session, Israel envoy Gilad Erdan said: “The mask of Iranian deniability has been removed. No more hiding and no more bluffing. No more shirking of responsibility. Iran has attacked Israel from its own sovereign territory, publicly and proudly. The mask is off.”
  • “Iran, the number one world sponsor of terror,” Erdan continued, “has exposed its true face as the destabiliser of the region and the world… Right now is when the world must stop ignoring Iran’s crimes and take action.” He added that “all of the terror groups attacking Israel are tentacles of the same Shiite octopus — the Iranian octopus,” and urged members to “impose all possible sanctions on Iran before it’s too late.”
  • Foreign Secretary Cameron has said the UK will consider imposing more sanctions on Iran. “Yes, absolutely. We already have 400 sanctions on Iran. We put in place a whole new sanctions regime at the end of last year, which is proving very effective. We’ve sanctioned the IRGC, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, in its entirety, and we’ll continue to look at what further steps we can do.”
  • The New York Times is reporting that in the course of Saturday night, Israel decided to attack Iran. Later however, in a conversation between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Joe Biden, Biden managed to avert the Israeli attack on Iran. Biden told Netanyahu that given the fact the attack caused minimum damage, Israel should the incident “a win” and should thus not respond militarily. An Israeli official told CNN that Israel will respond to Iran’s attack, but the scope of that response has yet to be decided.
  • National Camp Chairman and war cabinet minister, Benny Gantz, has spoken about the world’s support for Israel. “Israel versus Iran, the world versus Iran. This is the result” he said. “This is a strategic achievement that we should leverage for Israel’s security. This incident is not over. The strategic alliance and the regional cooperation system between us has been seriously put to the test and now is the time for us to strengthen it. We’ll build a regional coalition against the Iranian threat and exact the price from Iran in the manner and at the time right for us.”
  • Overnight, Israeli fighter jets shot down a drone making its way toward Israel from the east, the military says. Israel is attacking targets on the outskirts of the towns of Dhayra and Naqoura in southern Lebanon, according to a report by the Al Mayadeen News network, linked to Hezbollah.


In light of the targeted strike on Iranian Gen. Mohammed Reza Zahedi, this paper gives the latest assessment on the confrontation between Israel and Iran and its proxies.

Read BICOM’s briefing here.


Recent reports suggest that the UK is considering ceasing arms sales to Israel. This paper looks at the current state of military trade between the two nations, in the context of strong bilateral ties.

Download BICOM’s briefing here


Episode 230 | Aid in the Gaza Strip

In this episode, Richard Pater speaks to Professor Rosa Freedman, an expert in international human rights law. They discuss Israel’s obligations in facilitating aid into Gaza and the current role of NGO’s operating in the Strip.  Prof Freedman also explores the politicisation of aid, and the failure of the Red Cross to visit the Israeli hostages since October 7th.  Freedman is Professor of Law, Conflict and Global Development at the University of Reading. She is a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Civil Society Advisory Board on preventing sexual exploitation and abuse, a member of the FCDO Steering Committee on the Global Framework, and the Civil Society Workstream Lead on the Prevention Project.

Listen on Apple PodcastsSpotify and Google Podcasts


‘I knew early on this would be an ugly war, but Hamas must be defeated’ | The Fathom Interview: Fania Oz-Salzberger

Read and watch here

Top Stories From the UK and Israeli Media

The Financial Times publishes an overview of what happened on Saturday night. BBC News also explained what was in each wave of attack as they happened. The Guardian and The Telegraph also publish their explainers on how the night unfolded. The Times also publishes a piece on why Iran attacked Israel. 

The Times publishes a leading article: “The reckless attack on Israel will serve only to remind the world of Tehran’s malign agenda in the Middle East, and the imperative of safeguarding Israeli security.”

Roger Boyes writes in The Times: “Iran’s so-called axis of resistance can no longer be regarded as a gang of proxy militias, they are part of a proactive force, summoned into being in the savagery of October 7 and dedicated to fraying the links between Israel and the United States, its main security provider.”

BBC NewsThe Guardian, Sky News, The Financial TimesThe TimesThe IndependentThe Daily MailThe Sun, and The Economist all report on how Israel may choose to proceed after Saturday’s drone attack by Iran. 

The Financial Times reports on whether the attack will change Netanyahu’s strategies, which have historically been risk averse. 

The Mirror publishes four potential ways the tension with Iran could escalate further – with contribution from BICOM’s Richard Pater. 

BBC News and Sky News report The White House has warned Israel that the US will not participate in any retaliatory strikes on Iran, senior administration officials have said.

The Guardian , The Times, The Daily Mail, The Sun and Sky News also report that Rishi Sunak has confirmed that RAF Typhoons shot down a number of Iranian drones overnight and said the UK’s involvement helped save lives in Israel and neighbouring Arab countries. The Telegraph adds a piece on how RAF Typhoons and their pilots’ bionic helmets helped Israel. 

Sky News publishes on the response to the attack in Westminster – “The best case scenario is Israel limits its response to Iranian proxies, rather than any target within the country. But the worst case is an attack on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, according to a UK source. So how does Westminster approach such an uncertain and dangerous fork in the road?”

The Guardian similarly looks at the impact the attack has had on divides in the Democrats, potentially papering over some of the issues pro-Israel members were having with Joe Biden. 

BBC News, The Times and The Financial Times report that oil prices fell in early Asian trade after Iran’s reprisal attack on Israel over the weekend. Brent crude – a key benchmark for oil prices internationally – was lower but still trading close to $90 a barrel on Monday morning. 

BBC News further reports that Iran seized a commercial ship with links to Israel as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz early on Saturday. The MSC Aries was boarded by Iranian special forces about 50 miles (80km) off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, a statement from the vessel’s operator MSC said. 

The Daily Mail reports Iran’s government celebrated its ‘revenge’ as missiles and drones hurtled towards Israel early on Sunday, while Tehran’s streets filled with thousands of supporters celebrating the attack – and emptied of those fearful of a possible retaliation.

The Times reports that the UK is understood to be undertaking a fresh review of whether to proscribe Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terror group following Tehran’s assault on Israel over the weekend. The government has previously refused to proscribe the group, arguing that there is value in being able to negotiate directly with Tehran.

The Guardian also publishes a piece interviewing Palestinians who welcomed the attack on Israel by Iran. 

The Guardian also reports that Donald Trump responded to Iran’s Saturday attack on Israel by reposting a 2018 all-caps tweet in which he threatened the president of Iran and said the US would not stand for “DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH.”

The Guardian publishes MK Naama Lazimi, a member of the Labour Party: “I am writing this not only as a member of the opposition in the Israeli parliament, but first and foremost as a mother and a young woman in Israel living under Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. His long spell in office has left my generation disillusioned and robbed of dreams for a better future. We refuse to surrender and are fighting to preserve Israel’s identity as a liberal democracy that embraces coexistence.”

The Guardian further publishes an editorial: “Iran’s airborne military attack on Israel, launched on Saturday night, has the potential to turn the crisis in Gaza into a full-scale Middle East war, drawing in the US and other countries including Britain. This is the scenario that western and Arab governments have been dreading ever since the 7 October attacks on Israel by Hamas, Iran’s close ally. Now that the worst has come to pass, no one can know where or how it will end. This unprecedented head-to-head confrontation between Israel and Iran must be defused before it spins completely out of control.”

The Sun publishes its view on the weekend’s events: “The world is holding its breath for Israel’s response to the attack on it by Iran. Let us pray that there is no major escalation in hostilities.”

BBC News also reports that the Scottish first minister has condemned Iran’s attack on Israel, labelling it an “extremely worrying development.” Humza Yousaf said that all parties in the Middle East should abide by UN Security Council resolutions and implement an immediate ceasefire.

The TimesThe Guardian and The BBC all report the IDF says it found the body of a 14-year-old shepherd in the occupied West Bank on Saturday, a day after he went missing. Benjamin Achimeir had taken a flock of sheep out to graze from Malachi Hashalom, a settler outpost near Ramallah on Friday morning. PM Benjamin Netanyahu called Achimeir’s death a “heinous murder”. Israeli settlers stormed the village of al-Mughayyir, killing one Palestinian and injuring others. 

Israeli media commentary is dominated by analysis of the Iranian attack and its implications.

In Yediot Ahronot, Nahum Barnea calls Saturday night the “first good night since October 7th” and praises how “an alert, professional, skilled military waited for the enemy in the right place and at the right time. Intelligence had read the map properly— in advance, and with impressive accuracy… everything worked that night like a computer game,” he writes. This begs the question, Barnea says: “How did a military that failed so unforgivably on October 7 marvelously strike at an enemy six months later? How could we have failed and how did we bounce back?”

On the significance of the multi-actor response to the Iranian attacks, Barnea says: “A coalition fought here the other night, a coalition in which Israel has become a central member. This was an historic development. For the first time, Arab countries fought in a war in the region due to shared interests with Israel and on Israel’s behalf. Biden showed the Israelis the strategic meaning of what he is offering with normalisation with Saudi Arabia. He also demonstrated that the key to significant cooperation against Iran is held by the White House. Israel might be able to sting Iran; it cannot attack it, curb it or deter it without Washington’s blessing. Biden showed what he is capable of doing and what he is capable of preventing. That is quite a lot for a single night from a president who is 81.5 years old.”

Barnea’s Yediot Ahronot colleague Nadav Eyal is less fulsome in his praise of Israeli intelligence, which he says. “failed on the central assessment it provided the political leadership ahead of the assassination of Hassan Mahdavi [Mohammad Reza Zahedi, the IRGC commander assassinated in Damascus two weeks ago]… The mistaken assessment made by the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate pushed us closer to a regional war than ever before. When the assassination operation was being weighed, military intelligence (and Mossad) officials assessed that Iran would not ‘break the rules of the game,’ and would not directly attack Israel from Iranian territory. The assessment was that Iranian proxies, such as Hizbullah and the Houthis, would retaliate fiercely, but without direct Iranian support. What ultimately happened was that Iran launched an unprecedented attack against Israel.”

Of the potential Israeli response, Ron Ben Yishai in Ynet writes: “Two opposing vectors will influence the decision made by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Minister Benny Gantz, who were empowered by the security cabinet to dictate the Israeli response. One vector is the need to deter Iran… If Israel fails to respond painfully to the attack, the ayatollahs and their allies in the ‘axis of resistance’—as well as countries in the region that are prepared to normalize relations with Israel—might interpret that as a sign of weakness.” However, “one of the top priorities in crafting a response is preserving the legitimacy that Israel has been given by the world and Israel’s need to turn over a new leaf in its relations with the West. By nature, deterrence is a perishable commodity; alternatively, an alliance with the West and regional defensive architecture are enduring strategic assets. Given that, Israel would be advised to accede to the United States’ demand and to refrain from a ‘hasty reaction,’ to wit—a powerful reaction.”

In Israel Hayom, former National Security Advisor Meir Ben Shabbat calls for the attack to signal a change in Washington’s Iran strategy. “Iran has long ceased being just a local or regional problem,” he says; it is now a global matter. The US needs to spearhead the effort to counter it, regarding not only the nuclear aspect but also its weapons proliferation, subversion, proxy deployment, funding terrorism, and fuelling it. The Biden administration can view this as an opportunity to set new boundaries for Tehran’s conduct, now in the final stretch before presidential elections… Those who might be concerned in Washington that such a policy would embroil the US in an undesired war should think about the prospect that could occur without such action: An expansion of the war in the Middle East that could drag the US into it. In the eyes of the ayatollahs, Israel is the ‘little satan.’ It stands at the tip of the spear of Western civilisation in this region. There is no need to guess who the ‘great satan’ is.”

Amos Harel in Haaretz discusses the regional defence umbrella, in evidence in thwarting the Iranian attack. “The system relies on a network made of sensors deployed in different countries,” Harel says. “Israel contributed advanced discovery and interception capabilities through its multi-layer defence systems. The other partners initially contributed radars deployed close to Iran’s border. Throughout the first six months of the war, there have been various signs of the work of the regional defence system, dubbed by the Americans as MEAD (Middle East Air Defense Alliance). The fruits of this alliance were evident in full for the first time in the early hours of Sunday morning. He adds One can assume that Tehran is extremely disappointed with the results. The Iranian intention, as evaluated ahead of the attack, was to put on a display of its capabilities with an attack on military targets… Iran failed completely.”

Ben Caspit in Maariv says Israel’s response must consider three things. Firstly, Saturday night, he says, saw “a rare, unprecedented, historic coalition operated on our behalf: America, Britain, Jordan—and we can bet there were others—all took part in the defensive effort to intercept [the incoming missiles]. Any Israeli response must take these partners into account.” Secondly, “those in a position to make decisions know full well and are familiar with the constraints. Israel is stretched on multiple fronts, and the IDF has been fighting for more than six months—with a lot of erosion. Hizbullah has not yet entered the fray in any substantive way, and [residents of] the north have been evacuated for more than half a year. Does Israel have the endurance to turn the current situation into a regional war that would last many months? Does it have the necessary support and supplies? Can the economy withstand it?” Thirdly, and in summary: “None of which is to say Israel should not react, or that Israel should not react. I’m inclined to think that Israel cannot fail to respond to an attack of this scale. I am saying, however, that the situation we are in is more complex than ever. It would be wise to weigh up and consider and clarify as much as possible before acting, not after.”

Israel Hayom’s Yoav Limor, similarly, says “the failure of Iran’s plan frees Israel up to make decisions relatively calmly, to use its head rather than to shoot from the hip. There are several good reasons for a powerful Israeli response, and there are also a lot of good reasons to refrain from doing so. The most obvious argument in favour of launching a broad response is that Iran has crossed a red line, and if it is not dealt an especially-powerful reply—it will do so again. Israel was able to concentrate its effort once, but it will be difficult to do so on a regular basis because this effort comes with massive costs… The most obvious reason to refrain from a broad response is the rare, perhaps one-time, opportunity, to solidify the regional defence pact and turn it into a significant counter to Iran.”

Recommended Reading  

‘This is not over,’ IDF officials warn as they push for retaliation against Iran, Yossi Yehushua, Ynet

  • “Senior members of the military seek wider international coalition against Iran; test will be when Iranians responsible for terror or for Hezbollah build-up come into IDF crosshairs” Read more 

After cooperating with Israel, what’s the next US phase in the struggle against Iran?, Eldad Shavit and Chuck Freilich, INSS

  • “The conduct of the United States preceding and during Iran’s attack once again proved the Biden administration’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s security. Despite US anger that Israel did not inform them of its plans for the assassination in Damascus, the US coordinated with Israel and the regional states, reinforced Israel’s forces, and participated extensively in the interception efforts.” Read more

Iran’s Attack Requires a Broad Response, Ahmed Charai, The Jerusalem Strategic Tribune

  • “Iran’s attack on Israel, with more than 170 drones and 120 ballistic missiles, was the largest that Tehran has ever launched against the Hebrew state. Previously, Iran used proxy forces, including Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Houthi rebels in Yemen, to rain down rockets on Israeli homes and ships. Now, Iran is attacking directly and striking at well guarded military sites. Iran has crossed a red line – forcing responses from both Israel and America. The Islamic republic is openly courting war. We should not give them the war that they want..” Read more

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