Israel Says It Shot Down Iranian Salvo ‘Shoulder-to-Shoulder' with US 

The remains of a rocket booster that, according to Israeli authorities critically injured a 7-year-old girl, after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, near Arad, Israel, April 14, 2024. (Reuters)
The remains of a rocket booster that, according to Israeli authorities critically injured a 7-year-old girl, after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, near Arad, Israel, April 14, 2024. (Reuters)
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Israel Says It Shot Down Iranian Salvo ‘Shoulder-to-Shoulder' with US 

The remains of a rocket booster that, according to Israeli authorities critically injured a 7-year-old girl, after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, near Arad, Israel, April 14, 2024. (Reuters)
The remains of a rocket booster that, according to Israeli authorities critically injured a 7-year-old girl, after Iran launched drones and missiles towards Israel, near Arad, Israel, April 14, 2024. (Reuters)

Israel's repelling of a massive Iranian drone and missile salvo was fully coordinated with the Pentagon, which had a US operational liaison officer in the control room of the Arrow ballistic air defense system, a senior Israeli official said.

The United States, along with Britain, France and Jordan, helped Israel intercept the bulk of the weekend barrage and potentially stave off escalation between the regional enemies.

At least half of the hundreds of pilotless one-way planes, cruise missiles and surface-to-surface missiles, which Israel said carried a total of 60 tons of explosives, were shot down by Israeli warplanes and aerial shields, according to local media.

Israeli officials said much of the work was done by their Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 high-altitude defense systems, which were developed jointly with the Pentagon and Boeing Co.

Arrow's interceptor missiles cost between $2 million and $3.5 million a piece, according to Israeli industry sources.

Moshe Patel, director of missile defense at Israel's Defense Ministry, said Arrow and lower-altitude interceptors were synced with counterpart US systems in the region.

"The systems share information, for a joint picture of the sky, and the sky was certainly busy," Patel told Channel 12 TV.

"Afterward, there is also coordination in battle doctrine. An American officer sits in the control room of the Arrow weapons system and essentially conducts the coordination with the US systems, shoulder-to-shoulder."

There was no immediate comment from US Central Command, which oversees Middle East operations. On Sunday, it said US forces destroyed more than 80 of the drones and at least six of the ballistic missiles aimed at Israel.

Israel said 99% of all the projectiles were downed in time, limiting the toll to injuries to one person and damage to one military base. That surprised even Zvika Haimovitch, a retired brigadier-general who formerly commanded Israel's air defenses.

"(This was) well-synchronized and coordinated between all the elements – the air, the ground forces - and, yes, to be honest it is a great percentage and much more than we expected if you would have asked me three days before," he told Reuters.

"But we need to be sure that we will be ready for the next time because for sure there’ll be a next time," he said. "We need to take as an assumption that the Iranians will do their homework next time and will try to challenge our systems. That means we need to be one step before and not after our enemies."

Daniel Gold, director of weapons development at Israel's Defense Ministry, told Channel 12 television that work was already under way on more advanced Arrow models 4 and 5.

Arrow 3 shoots down incoming ballistic weapons above the atmosphere, using a detachable warhead that slams into the target in space.

The Maariv newspaper reported that Arrow 3 downed 110 missiles outside Israeli air space, at a potential cost of up to $385 million. The Israeli military had no immediate comment on that. Asked on Army Radio how much the interceptions had cost Israel, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said he did not know.

Mindful of the need for thrift in the face of foes on several fronts, Israel in 2022 said it was developing a laser-based missile shield to deliver shoot-downs as cheap as $2 each.

"I believe that the laser will be in the next few years one of our main solutions in dealing with a variety of threats – rockets, missiles, drones, UAVs and more," Haimovitch said.



Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
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Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo

Sweden's domestic security agency on Thursday accused Iran of using established criminal networks in Sweden as a proxy to target Israeli or Jewish interests in the Scandinavian country.
The accusations were raised at a news conference by Daniel Stenling, the head of the SAPO agency's counterespionage unit, following a series of events earlier this year.
In late January, the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm was sealed off after what was then described as “a dangerous object” was found on the grounds of the diplomatic mission in an eastern Stockholm neighborhood. Swedish media said the object was a hand grenade.
The embassy was not evacuated and the object was eventually destroyed. No arrests were made and authorities did not say what was found. On May 17, gunshots were heard near the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm and the area was cordoned off. No one was arrested.
According to The Associated Press, Stenling said, without offering specifics or evidence to back up his assertion, that the agency "can establish that criminal networks in Sweden are used as a proxy by Iran.”
“It is very much about planning and attempts to carry out attacks against Israeli and Jewish interests, goals and activities in Sweden," he said and added that the agency sees "connections between criminal individuals in the criminal networks and individuals who are connected to the Iranian security services.”
Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer and Hampus Nygårds, deputy head of the Swedish police's National Operations Department, were also at the online news conference with Stenling.
“We see this connection between the Iranian intelligence services, the security services and precisely criminals in the criminal networks in Sweden," Stenling said. “We see that connection and it also means that we need to work much more internationally to get to the crimes and be able to prevent them.”
Stenling and the others made no mention of the recent incidents connected to the Israel Embassy and stopped short of naming any criminal groups or suspects.
Sweden has grappled with gang violence for years and criminal gangs often recruit teenagers in socially disadvantaged immigrant neighborhoods to carry out hits.
By May 15, police have recorded 85 shootings so far this year, including 12 fatal shootings. Last year, 53 people were killed and 109 were wounded in a total of 363 shootings.