U.S. led coalition of warplanes helped intercept 300 weapons from Iran in historic strike on Israel

WASHINGTON − Israel's response to the historic Iran strike was boosted by a U.S.-led coalition of warplanes and naval assets that helped intercept 300 drones, ballistic and cruise missiles, according to a U.S. official.

U.S. fighter aircraft and guided-missile destroyers knocked down some of the incoming missiles and drones, according to the official who was briefed on the operation but not authorized to speak publicly. Israel’s Arrow, David’s Sling and Iron Dome took down most of the attack, the official said.

Iran’s first direct attack on Israel caused minimal damage and casualties.

Iran's attack, while expected by U.S. intelligence and forecast by President Joe Biden on Friday, was extensive and required significant resources to repel, according to the official.

In the days leading up to Iran’s attack, the Pentagon moved assets to the Middle East to aid Israel and to protect U.S. forces there.

Iran's attack followed the April 1 airstrike in Damascus on Iran's embassy compound. That attack killed seven Iranian officials. Iran blamed Israel for the strike; Israel has not acknowledged its role.

Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel that killed 1,200 Israelis, the Pentagon has sent additional warships, aircraft and troops to the Middle East to support Israel and deter adversaries from attacking. In the more than six months since that attack, Israel has waged war on Hamas in Gaza, where more than 30,000 people have been killed, according to Palestinian officials.

Iranian proxy forces in Iraq, Syria and Yemen have mounted attacks on U.S. and western interests. One attack in Jordan killed three U.S. soldiers and prompted a round of 85 airstrikes that largely curtailed attacks on bases with American personnel.

Saturday's attack represents the largest attack and first direct assault by Iran on Israel. U.S. officials have urged restraint to avoid further escalation.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: U.S.-led coalition helped intercept 300 weapons from Iran: official