Iran launched hundreds of drones and cruise missiles into Israel. Israeli and American air defence units in the area were able to prepare for this attack given the distance the drones would have to fly and their slower speed. Some of these drones and missiles were shot down over Jordan, Syria and Iraq. Hezbollah launched dozens of rockets into Israel, targeting artillery systems in northern Israel and the Golan Heights, during the Iran drone/missile attack. Hezbollah used Katyusha rockets, or truck-borne unguided rockets like those used in the Second World War by the Soviets.

This attack was in retaliation for the Israeli strike on the Iranian Consulate in Damascus, which killed senior Quds Force commanders, including Brig Gen Mohammad Reza Zahedi, on 1 April. Zahedi is the highest-ranking Iranian military commander who has been killed since Major General Qassem Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike in 2020.

The United States and the United Kingdom have called on Israel and Iran to de-escalate. The United States has reiterated that it does not want to become more involved in the conflict. Iran threatened that if the United States, or regional actors, gets involved there will be repercussions. The United States does have military bases throughout the Middle East that could become targets for Iran.

It took over two hours for some of the drones, which were first launched, to reach Israeli airspace. This demonstrates that it was a calculated attack to maximize the display of force but to minimize any actual destruction by allowing Israeli, and allied, air defences time to prepare for the onslaught.

Iranian actions demonstrate that the regime is not being deterred any longer. Iran has been utilizing its “Axis of Resistance” network and has been increasingly active in being a destabilizing actor in the region and globally.

7 October Attack on Israel

The Wall Street Journal reported that members of Iran’s Quds Force planned the 7 October attack with Hamas officials. The Wall Street Journal also claimed that Iran gave Hamas the final green light for the attack. There are reports that Brig Gen Mohammad Reza Zahedi was involved in the planning of the 7 October attack. Israel’s emboldened attack on an Iranian consulate would suggest that these reports are true.

Since the attack, the Houthi rebels deployed drones and ballistic missiles to enforce a maritime restriction in the Red Sea and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. The first known Iranian materiel support for the Houthis was in 2009 after a small boat with Iranian weapons was seized by the Yemeni Navy. Since then, the Houthis have openly paraded ballistic missiles, drones and drone boats which have Iranian-supplied origins.  There has been limited activity from Hezbollah in Lebanon, which is also part of Iran’s Axis of Resistance, but it may be quietened due to the socio-economic conditions in Lebanon and hopes that Hezbollah will regain more influence.


Iran provided Russia with hundreds of ballistic missiles, according to Reuters. Iran also provided Shahed-136 suicide drones to Russia in 2022, but it has also permitted Russia to produce the Shahed drone variant. In return, Iran will be receiving attack helicopters and fighter jets from Russia and entered a free-trade agreement with Russia in December 2023.


In 2012, Conflict Armament Research published its findings surrounding the proliferation of Iranian ammunition in Africa. They found that Iranian ammunition was in the stockpiles of the governments of Côte d’Ivoire (until 2011), Guinea, Kenya and Sudan. Although ammunition from the former Soviet bloc and China was more prevalent, it is demonstrative of how Iran was attempting to gain some influence in the African continent.

North Korea

In 2015, Iran tested its Khorramshahr ballistic missile. It did not take long for some experts to state that it resembled North Korea’s Musudan or Hwasong-10 ballistic missile. There have been speculations concerning Iran’s involvement in North Korea’s ballistic missile programme and vice versa. While there also has been debate on whether the two countries cooperated with their nuclear ambitions, however, no credible evidence has come to public knowledge.

Pakistan, Iraq, Syria Strike

In January, Iran and Pakistan exchanged missile and air strikes – targeting terrorist group camps. Iran launched drone and missile strikes into Pakistan targeting encampments of Jaish al-Adl. Pakistan counterattacked by striking insurgent camps within Iran. It was surprising to the world that Iran struck targets in Pakistan’s territory, but these attacks also included targets in Iraq and Syria.  Iran claimed that the attack in Iraq was aimed at Israeli intelligence assets and that in Syria, it targeted ISIS militants.


It was this attack that should have alerted many that Iran was not being deterred any longer. It has used its Quds force to project its power beyond its borders within the region for years. It has collaborated with Russia since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. It has had a sordid history with North Korea with missile deployment in the shadows. But for Iran to conduct missile attacks on three different countries in one day, marked a different Iran. Iran’s conduct in the post-7 October attacks demonstrated that it was not to be touched by the West. It allowed for more brazen behaviour after years of allowing Iran to have more brazen behaviour in various conflicts.

Israel informed American officials that Iranian military bases and nuclear sites are still on the table for their retaliatory strike. It is unlikely that Israel will attack Iran’s nuclear facilities given the threat of radiation fallout, but also would be seen as an escalation. Israel will likely hit Iranian military bases, and drone and ballistic missile production facilities. However, the timing is up to Israel.

What is not up to Israel is Iran’s next few moves. Does it strengthen its Axis of Resistance throughout the region to fervour more instability? Does it punish the West but providing more assistance to Russia in its war against Ukraine? Does Iran destabilize Africa more by shipping arms and ammunition to the continent? Or worst-case scenario for global stability, does Iran covertly assist North Korean nuclear, ballistic missile, drone and military modernization plans?


Featured Photo: “Unveiling of the Khorramshahr-4 ballistic missile”, Wikimedia Commons via Mehrnews, 2024

Inset Video: ““99% Intercepted”“, WarMonitor, X (Formerly Twitter), 2024


By Stewart Webb

The editor of DefenceReport and Senior Analyst, Stewart Webb holds a MScEcon in Security Studies from Aberystwyth University and a BA in Political Science from Acadia University. A frequent guest on defence issues for CTV National News, and other Canadian media outlets, his specialities include commentary on terrorist/insurgent activity and Canadian defence issues. Stewart can be contacted at: [email protected]