RAF jets shot down ‘a number’ of Iranian drones attacking Israel, Rishi Sunak says

14 April 2024, 12:23 | Updated: 14 April 2024, 12:54

Rishi Sunak confirmed a number of Iranian drones attacking Israel were shot down by RAF jets.
Rishi Sunak confirmed a number of Iranian drones attacking Israel were shot down by RAF jets. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

RAF jets shot down a 'number of drones' fired by Iran in its attack on Israel on Saturday night, Rishi Sunak has said.

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Mr Sunak condemned Iran's attack as a "dangerous and unnecessary escalation" of which he said the “fallout for regional stability would be hard to overstate”.

Speaking from Downing Street on Sunday, the Prime Minister confirmed that RAF pilots did shoot down Iranian drones on Saturday night, as part of an "international coordinated effort".

He 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."

Mr Sunak said Iran sent both missiles and attack drones but did not specify how many were shot down by RAF forces.

Earlier on Sunday, Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said that more than 300 weapons had been fired by Iran, 99% of which were intercepted.

He said few of the missiles reached Israel, after Iran fired 170 drones, more than 30 cruise missiles and more than 120 ballistic missiles.

Read more: ‘Together we will win’: Netanyahu vows to fight off attacks from Iran after over 300 drones and missiles fired at Israel

Read more: Biden reaffirms ‘ironclad support' of Israel as he plans G7 meeting to coordinate ‘diplomatic response to Iran attack’

Iran launched an attack on Israel on Saturday evening.
Iran launched an attack on Israel on Saturday evening. Picture: Getty

Additional RAF jets have been moved to the region to bolster Operation Shader, the UK’s counter-Daesh operation in Iraq and Syria, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a statement on Sunday morning.

The MoD said it will continue to intercept any airborne attacks within its range of existing missions.

Mr Sunak is expected to join US President Joe Biden alongside other G7 leaders today to discuss coordinating a “diplomatic response to Iran’s attack” on Israel.

Iran’s attack on Israel was first confirmed on Saturday evening by the IDF - saying that the Shahed drones were expected above Israel "within hours".

The drone attack is the first time Iran had ever launched a full-scale military assault on Israel, despite decades of enmity dating back to the country's 1979 Islamic Revolution.

After the confirmation of the incoming attack, Israeli, British and American forces have worked to down the weapons in Jordanian and Syrian airspace.

Mr Sunak said on Saturday evening: “I condemn in the strongest terms the Iranian regime’s reckless attack against Israel.

"These strikes risk inflaming tensions and destabilising the region. Iran has once again demonstrated that it is intent on sowing chaos in its own backyard."

“The UK will continue to stand up for Israel’s security and that of all our regional partners, including Jordan and Iraq. Alongside our allies, we are urgently working to stabilise the situation and prevent further escalation. No one wants to see more bloodshed.”