April 17, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Promises Response to Iran Attack as World Leaders Urge Restraint

April 17, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Promises Response to Iran Attack as World Leaders Urge Restraint

Latest Developments

Israel’s war cabinet decided to strike back at Iran “clearly and forcefully” during a closed-door meeting on April 15. The Times of Israel, citing Israel’s Channel 12, reported that the cabinet chose to respond to send a message that Israel “would not allow an attack of that magnitude against it to pass without a reaction.”

“This launch of so many missiles, cruise missiles, and drones into Israeli territory will be met with a response,” said Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi on April 15. On April 13 and 14, Iran’s regime and their proxies in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq launched approximately 170 drones, 30 cruise missiles, and 120 ballistic missiles toward Israel. Israeli air defenses, fighter jets, and partners — including the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Jordan — intercepted nearly all of the munitions, with only a few ballistic missiles causing minor damage in Israel.

Expert Analysis

“It is interesting that some only seem to get concerned about escalation after the United States and Israel are attacked and are considering how to respond. A country, like an individual, in the sole business of receiving punches and not counterpunching should expect more punches. Israel had a right and responsibility to respond to October 7, and it has a right and responsibility to respond to Iran’s unprecedented direct attack against Israel this weekend.”Bradley Bowman, Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power

“Iran’s historic and brazen escalation against Israel featured a combination of its most lethal long-range strike platforms, including suicide drones, land-attack cruise missiles, and medium-range ballistic missiles. When employed together, these weapons are used not only to signal but also to kill and destroy. To brush that off would only invite more taboo-shattering direct attacks.” — Behnam Ben Taleblu, FDD Senior Fellow

Leaders Call for Israeli Restraint

The war cabinet’s meeting comes as the United States and several other countries called for Israel to show restraint, worried that an Israeli response could lead to an escalation. During a phone call, President Joe Biden told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the United States would not participate in an Israeli counterattack.

Israel’s Possible Targets

Israel’s targets inside Iran could include missile and drone production and storage facilities, Iranian ports, and oil and gas infrastructure, including refineries and pipelines that finance the regime. It may choose to attack leadership and military assets. Finally, Israel may consider striking elements of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, potentially including the regime’s nuclear scientists.

Israel Did Not Respond During First Gulf War

During the first month of the First Gulf War, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein launched 38 Scud missiles at Israel, killing two people directly and causing the deaths of 11 more from heart attacks and asphyxiation. According to reports, the United States successfully pressured Israel not to respond since an Israeli attack could undermine the coalition the United States was building, which included Arab states. Instead, the United States and its Gulf War coalition partners destroyed Iraq’s Scud missile launchers. The United States also sent U.S. troops and at least one Patriot missile defense system to Israel.

In 1981, Israel attacked the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq. And in 2007, Israel destroyed Syria’s al-Kibar nuclear reactor. In both instances, Israel took these steps to secure its interests despite concerns in Washington.  

What We Can Learn From Iran’s Attack on Israel,” FDD Insight by Bradley Bowman, Ryan Brobst, and Mike Daum

Slaughtering sacred cows,” FDD’s Generation Jihad Podcast with Behnam Ben Taleblu and Joe Truzman

Why Israel’s failure to strike back at Iran could lead to NUCLEAR WAR,” by Mark Dubowitz and Jacob Nagel

Putting U.S. Power Behind Israel Will Keep Iran at Bay,” by Reuel Marc Gerecht and Ray Takeyh

Following Failed Onslaught, Iran Threatens Further Attacks,” FDD Flash Brief


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Missiles Iran Nuclear Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Israel at War Military and Political Power