Iran's Revolutionary Guards said they had launched
Iran's Revolutionary Guards said they had launched "dozens of drones and missiles" at Israel (file photo)

Iran has launched aerial drones at Israel, appearing to mark a widely anticipated reprisal attack.

Israeli TV said the salvo was expected to reach Israel at 02:00 on Sunday (23:00 GMT on Saturday).

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said they had launched missiles as well as drones “at specific targets”.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said they were on high alert and “monitoring all targets”. Israel’s prime minster convened a meeting of his war cabinet.

Israel, Lebanon and Iraq have closed their airspaces, and Syria and Jordan have put their air defences on alert.

Iran had vowed to retaliate for an attack on its consulate in Syria on 1 April, which killed seven military officers, including a top commander.

It accused Israel of carrying out that attack. Israel neither confirmed nor denied it.

Shortly before news of Iran’s drone launches, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country’s “defensive systems” were deployed.

“We are ready for any scenario, both defensively and offensively. The State of Israel is strong. The IDF is strong. The public is strong.

“We appreciate the US standing alongside Israel, as well as the support of Britain, France and many other countries.”

After news broke of the attack, US National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said: “President Biden has been clear: our support for Israel’s security is ironclad.”

“The United States will stand with the people of Israel and support their defence against these threats from Iran.”

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned Iran’s “reckless” attack, vowing that the UK would “continue to stand up for Israel’s security and that of all our regional partners”.

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) – the most powerful branch of its armed forces – said it had launched the attack “in retaliation against the Zionist regime’s [Israel] repeated crimes, including the attack on the Iranian embassy’s consulate in Damascus”.