British Royal Air Force Fighter Jets Shot Down Iranian Drones Headed for Israel, PM Sunak Confirms

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during his visit to RAF Coningsby in Linconshire following the
Joe Giddens/PA Images via Getty Images

British Royal Air Force fighter jets shot down a “number of” Iranian attack drones launched against Israel, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed on Sunday.

RAF jets scrambled to protect Israel from their bases in Iraq and Syria intercepted and downed Iranian military drones, Prime Minister Sunak said while warning that “the fallout for regional stability would be hard to overstate” if the strikes on Israel had been successful.

“I want to pay tribute to the bravery and professionalism of our pilots flying into the face of danger to protect civilians,” he said.

Sunak again condemned the Islamist regime in Iran for the “dangerous and unnecessary escalation,” but said that thanks to the efforts of the RAF and an “international coordinated effort”, he said that “almost all” of the missiles and drones were intercepted before hitting their targets in Israel.

“The RAF sent additional planes to the region as part of our existing operations to counter Daesh (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria and I can confirm that our planes did shoot down a number of attack drones.”

Jerusalem has claimed that Tehran launched at least 170 attack drones, 30 cruise missiles, and 120 ballistic missiles during the attack on Saturday, the Times of Israel reports.

The unprecedented assault on Israel — with the Islamist regime previously using terrorist proxies in the region to attack the Jewish state rather than directly striking Israel itself — was claimed by Iran to be a retaliation for an airstrike earlier this month on an Iranian consular building in Damascus, Syria, which killed two generals in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. Israel has so far not confirmed involvement in the attack.

The attacks on Saturday drew swift condemnation from the international community, with French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné saying that the strikes “crossed a new level” of destabilisation.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock added: “We strongly condemn the ongoing attack, which could plunge an entire region into chaos. Iran and its proxies must stop this immediately. Israel offers our full solidarity at this time.”

On Sunday, British cabinet minister Victoria Atkins said the UK would marshal “all of our efforts” to de-escalate the situation, warning against a “miscalculation or an escalation” in the tense situation, the PA news agency reports.

Atkins went on to confirm that Prime Minister Sunak and the leaders of the G7 nations of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States would hold an emergency call on Sunday to discuss the Western response to the emerging crisis.

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