Volume of Iran’s barrage on Israel surprises United States – WSJ

The scale of Iran’s first-ever direct attack on Israel matched US spy agencies’ worst-case scenarios, US officials told The Wall Street Journal.

“This was on the high end, I think, of what we were—what we were anticipating,” a senior official said.

It threatened not only Israel, a US ally, but also Biden’s hopes of preventing a regional war, the US officials remarked. 

Even as intelligence officials saw Iran removed missiles from storage and put them on launchers, the scale of Iran’s attack plan wasn’t clear to US intelligence agencies, The Wall Street Journal reported. Later they watched hundreds of drones and missiles launched towards Israel by Iran. 

US President Joe Biden and his aides feared the massive Iranian barrage of missiles and drones could overwhelm the strengthened defenses the US and Israel had spent preparing for the anticipated attack. As the attack occurred, the president and his aides did not know if the Israeli and US anti missile systems would defend the Jewish state from Iran’s attack, according to the Wall Street Journal report. 

A MISSILE unveiled by Iran is launched in an unknown location in this photo released yesterday. (credit: WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY/REUTERS)

“The results of the defenses,” a senior Biden administration official in the Situation Room that day said, “were unclear until all was said and done.”

Irael strikes senior IRGC military commander in Damascus

On the first of April, an Israeli strike killed senior Iranian military leaders in Damascus Syria, including Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who oversaw Iran’s paramilitary operations in Syria and Lebanon for the IRGC’s Quds Force. Israel warned US officials about the operation only minutes before it began. 

American officials initially believed that the Israeli strike would trigger Iranian proxy attacks against US stations in Iraq and Syria, where about 4,500 American troops and civilians are deployed at bases, The Wall Street Journal report stated. US officials theorized that Iran would attack an Israel Embassy outside the country.

The Iranians scheduled each of the separate launches so the weapons would arrive at the same time to overwhelm Israel’s defense systems. This volume of launches is unchartered territory, and Israeli and US officials did not know if it was possible to intercept so many at once. 

Early on Friday, Israel responded to Iran, by targeting a military site in Iran’s Isfahan province. While the attack was quiet, it showed that Israel could bypass Iranian air defenses and strike deep inside the country, a warning after Tehran’s attack.