RAF jets: Royal Air Force Typhoon jets scramble to Middle East after Iran fires hundreds of missiles at Israel

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The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that Royal Air Force jets have been deployed to the Middle East after Iran fired drones at Israel

British fighter jets have been deployed to shoot down drones fired at Israel from Iran. Iran fired over 300 missiles and drones at Israel last night (Saturday 13 April) in a retaliatory attack.

In a statement, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the Royal Air Force (RAF) will repel "any airborne attacks within range" of operations in the region. It is understood RAF jets have flown over Iraq and Syria but not Israel.

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PM Rishi Sunak condemned Iran's "reckless attack", pledging the UK would "continue to stand up for Israel's security". He is expected to join G7 leaders for urgent talks today (Sunday 14 April). He confirmed UK jets shot down "a number of drones" launched by Iran in its unprecedented attack on Israel last night. The prime minister called the assault by Tehran a "dangerous and unnecessary escalation" of conflict in the Middle East, warning the "the fallout for regional stability would be hard to overstate" had it been successful.

Mr Sunak said: "Thanks to an international co-ordinated effort, which the UK participated in, almost all of these missiles were intercepted, saving lives not just in Israel but in neighbouring countries like Jordan as well." He said that the UK sent "additional planes" to the region as part of operations already under way in Iraq and Syria, adding "I can confirm that our planes did shoot down a number of Iranian attack drones”.

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that Royal Air Force jets have been deployed to the Middle East after Iran fired drones at Israel. (Photo: Getty Images)The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that Royal Air Force jets have been deployed to the Middle East after Iran fired drones at Israel. (Photo: Getty Images)
The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that Royal Air Force jets have been deployed to the Middle East after Iran fired drones at Israel. (Photo: Getty Images) | Getty Images

The MoD has not said how many RAF Typhoons were airborne over Syrian and Iraqi airspace. Its statement made clear that RAF aircraft would intercept any attacks within the areas it already operates in as part of the Operation Shader mission against the Islamic State group. Defence Secretary Grant Shapps posted on X, formerly Twitter, that he "strongly condemned the senseless airborne attack" by Iran.

The Israeli military said it had intercepted the majority of the attacks from Iran  - mostly outside of Israel's airspace - with the help of other countries. The US was one of those allies, with President Biden confirming the US military helped Israel shoot down "nearly all" of Iran's drones and missiles.

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The attack wounded a seven-year-old girl and caused minor damage at an Israeli military facility. Explosions were heard as air defences intercepted the projectiles.

Medics said a girl in southern Israel was wounded by shrapnel from an intercepted drone, while the military said “a small number of hits were identified, including at [an Israeli military] base in southern Israel, where minor damage was caused to infrastructure”.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) confirmed the attack, saying it launched the drones and missiles under Operation True Promise as part of the punishment for “the Zionist entity’s crime of targeting the Iranian consulate in Syria” on April 1. The raid in Damascus killed 12 people, including two senior generals in the IRGC’s elite Quds Force. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the consulate attack.

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