Timeline: How the Iran-Israel conflict is developing

Following Iran's large-scale attack with missiles and drones on Israel on Saturday, there is increasing concern over the rising tensions in the Middle East. The question is will Israel retaliate? And what is its next move likely to be? Here's how the situation has developed.
*The date shows the actual date of the incident.


Iran's Khamenei does not refer to likely retaliation by Israel

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has praised his country's recent attack on Israel while not referring to likely retaliation by Israel.

Iran launched a massive attack against Israel on April 13. On Friday, explosions occurred in central Iran. Multiple US media reported that they were a retaliation by Israel.

Iran's state-run TV reported that Khamenei spoke to commanders of the country's armed forces on Sunday. In the speech, he referred to the Iranian attack. He said the other side cares about how many missiles were fired or hit their targets, but it is significant that the Iranian people and military demonstrated their willpower to the world.

He did not touch on apparent countermeasures by Israel.

Observers say Iran's supreme leader indicated the country has no intention of raising tensions by carrying out further attacks.

On Saturday, another blast with unknown causes reportedly occurred at a base of an Iran-backed militia group in Iraq.


NYT: Israel's attack damaged an air defense system in Iran

The New York Times says an explosion near an air base in Iran on Friday damaged an air defense system that covers an area hosting nuclear facilities.

The US paper on Saturday cited Western and Iranian officials who said that an Israeli weapon deployed in a retaliatory strike against Iran damaged a defense system responsible for detecting and destroying aerial threats near Natanz in the central province of Isfahan.

The report quoted the Western officials as saying the strike was "calculated to deliver a message to Iran that Israel could bypass Iran's defense systems undetected and paralyze them."

Iranian media reported on Friday that there was an explosion near an air base in Isfahan, and that several small-size drones were shot down. Israel and Iran continue to carry out retaliatory strikes against each other. However, both parties are apparently trying to avoid having the situation escalate into a large-scale armed conflict.

Observers say Israel sought to use Friday's attack to keep Iran in check by displaying its advanced military capabilities.

Meanwhile, an Iran-backed Shia Muslim militia group in Iraq, known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, said on social media on Saturday, that a blast occurred at its base about 50 kilometers south of Iraq's capital, Baghdad.

Reuters news agency quoted hospital staff as saying one person was killed and six others were injured.

Concerns are growing over a further destabilization of the situation in the Middle East.


Iran-backed Shia militia in Iraq reports explosion at base south of Baghdad

An Iran-backed militia in Iraq says an explosion has occurred at a military base about 50 kilometers south of Baghdad. The cause of the blast is not known.

The Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF, made the announcement on social media on Saturday. The militia is part of the so-called "Axis of Resistance," a network of militant groups in the Middle East.

Reuters news agency quotes two hospital sources as saying one PMF fighter was killed and six others were injured.

The PMF says a team is investigating the cause of the explosion.
Analysts say the blast could further destabilize the region amid rising tensions between Israel and Iran.

The US Central Command says it's aware of reports claiming that the United States conducted an airstrike in Iraq but that the reports are "not true."

CNN says both Israeli and US officials have denied any involvement in the explosion.

A number of explosions also occurred in Iran's central province of Isfahan on Friday. US media say Israel mounted the attacks in retaliation for Tehran's missile and drone strike on Israel several days earlier.


G7 foreign ministers urge restraint between Israel, Iran

The foreign ministers of the G7 nations have released a joint statement following reports of an Israeli strike on Iran. They urge all parties to exercise self-restraint.

The ministers wrapped up talks on the southern Italian island of Capri on Friday.

The statement says, "In light of reports of strikes on April 19th, we urge all parties to work to prevent further escalation."

It also says, "We stand ready to adopt further sanctions or take other measures, now and in response to further destabilizing initiatives."

Japanese Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko says the G7 countries stand united. She says, "We agreed to make every diplomatic effort, including those against Israel and Iran, to prevent the situation from further escalating and deteriorating."

The G7 statement also referred to the conflict in the Gaza Strip, saying, "Hamas must release all hostages immediately and unconditionally."


Israel's reported attack on Iran carried out with restraint, expert says

A Japanese expert on Middle East affairs says Israel's reported attack on Iran was carried out with restraint.

US media outlets have cited US officials as saying that Israel attacked Iran. Israel had threatened to take retaliatory measures in response to Iran's large-scale missile and drone attack over the weekend.

Professor Tanaka Koichiro of Keio University said in an interview with NHK on Friday that the report came as no surprise to him because he had been assured that it would definitely take place.

The professor said Israel apparently intended to show off its capability to keep nuclear-related sites within its range by attacking the region that houses the facilities.

But he added the attack was carried out on Friday morning, a day of rest when many businesses and government offices are closed, suggesting Israel's intention to minimize casualties.

As for possible responses from Iran, Tanaka said he believes Iran is trying to avoid being driven into a situation in which it has to stage a counteroffensive or an attack against Israel again. He feels Iran has concluded that there is no need to take a retaliatory action because interceptions have been made and there was no serious damage.

He said Iran seems to be acting in a way to avoid conflict with Israel or escalating the friction.

But the professor stressed the need to closely watch how things will unfold.
He said if the two nations continue to regularly attack each other, it may develop into an unexpected scenario.


Iranian media report explosions heard in central region, but no damage to nuclear facilities

Iran's news agency says explosions were heard in the central province of Isfahan on Friday. The country's state-run media outlets say key facilities, including nuclear-related sites, in the region were not damaged.

The Fars news agency said the cause of the sounds is unknown. The explosions were reportedly heard in an area in the province's northwest that is near the Isfahan airport and an Iranian air force base.

Another Iranian media outlet, Mehr news agency, reported that the blasts heard in Isfahan were the sounds of three drones being shot down. But it said that details, such as where the drones came from, are unknown. It said there was no damage at the air force base in Isfahan.

Iran's state-run news agency said no large-scale airstrikes have been reported and no interceptions have been made using missile defense systems.

Iran's state-run TV reported that passenger plane services, which had been suspended at several airports in the country, have resumed.

US media outlets have cited US officials as saying that Israel attacked Iran.
ABC News quoted a senior government official as saying that Israel fired missiles in retaliation for Iran's massive attack on Israel.

CNN cited a government official as saying that Israel's attack was not targeted at Iran's nuclear-related sites.

Israel had threatened to take retaliatory measures in response to Iran's large-scale missile and drone attack on April 13 and 14.

But it is not yet known if Israel is connected to the explosive sounds heard in Isfahan on Friday.


Japan's Foreign Minister Kamikawa urges Iran and Israel to exercise restraint

Japan's Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko has strongly urged her Iranian and Israeli counterparts to exercise restraint, following Iran's weekend attack on Israel.

Kamikawa spoke by phone with Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian on Tuesday.

She expressed deep concern over Iran's missile and drone attack, which she said "further deteriorates the current situation in the Middle East." She added that Japan "strongly condemns such escalation."

Kamikawa also talked by phone with Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz.

She said the situation could spiral "out of control" if tensions rise further, which would not be in the interest of the international community.

The Japanese foreign minister also called on Israel to take action that would lead to a sustainable ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.


Putin talks with Raisi, calls for restraint on all sides

Russian President Vladimir Putin has held talks with his Iranian counterpart, Ebrahim Raisi, and called on all sides to exercise restraint to prevent further confrontations in the Middle East.

The Kremlin says Putin expressed hope that "all sides will exercise sensible restraint and will not allow a new round of confrontation that may be fraught with disastrous consequences for the entire region."

It also says Raisi responded that Iran's actions "had been forced and limited," adding that "Tehran is not interested in further escalation of tensions."

Russia has been strengthening military ties with Iran since the start of its invasion of Ukraine in 2022.


US not involved in Israel's decision-making, senior White House official says

A senior White House official says the United States is not involved in Israel's "decision-making process about a potential response" to Iran's missile and drone attack. But the official added Washington does not want to see a broader conflict.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby spoke with reporters on Monday, as Israel's war cabinet met for the second day in a row to weigh its response to the Iranian assault.

Kirby said, "This is an Israeli decision to make, whether and how they'll respond to what Iran did." He added: "We don't want to see a war with Iran. We don't want to see a broader regional conflict."

He also said the G7 nations are considering new multinational sanctions against Iran. He said the G7 members that have yet to designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization are now thinking of doing so.

Kirby said the US and Iran exchanged messages with each other before the attack, but that Tehran did not provide information about the timeframe or the targets of its operation.


Israel, Iran say they will respond to one another's attacks

Tension continues between Israel and Iran, with both countries suggesting a response to any attack by the other.

Iran conducted large-scale missile and drone attacks on Israel over the weekend.

The Israel Defense Forces Chief of the General Staff, Herzi Halevi, said on Monday, "We are considering our next steps and this launch of so many missiles, cruise missiles and drones into Israeli territory will be met with a response."

He made the remarks as he visited the Nevatim air base in southern Israel where Iranian ballistic missiles hit.

Meanwhile on Monday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi spoke by phone with Qatar Amir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani. Raisi said the smallest measure against Iran's interests will be met with a severe, extensive and "painful" response against the perpetrator.

NBC News quoted some US officials as saying Israel could respond with strikes outside Iran, because the Iranian attack did not result in Israeli deaths or widespread destruction.

NBC reported Israeli targets could include facilities in Syria, where an Iran-backed militant group maintains weapons.

The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, was asked if some of the Israeli targets might be nuclear facilities in Iran.

Grossi said, "We are always concerned about this possibility." He added the IAEA is calling for "extreme restraint."


Kishida: International community should urge the relevant parties to exercise restraint

The leaders of the G7 nations have condemned the drone and missile attack that Iran conducted against Israel. Tehran says it carried out the assault in response to a strike on its "diplomatic premises" in Syria on April 1.

The leaders held an online meeting on Sunday. Italy, which currently holds the rotating G7 chair, issued a leaders' statement afterward.

The document states the leaders "unequivocally condemn in the strongest terms Iran's direct and unprecedented attack against Israel."

The statement says the leaders express their "full solidarity and support to Israel and its people" and reaffirm their "commitment towards its security."

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio said during the meeting that his government is deeply concerned about the Iranian attack and strongly condemns it. He said the assault could exacerbate the situation in the Middle East.

Kishida stressed that the international community as a whole should urge the relevant parties to calm the situation and exercise restraint in order to prevent tensions from rising further.

He called on the G7 to lead discussions toward that end. The prime minister said Japan will take a range of diplomatic steps.

Kishida added Japan wants to work with other G7 countries to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals in the Middle East, and to evacuate them if necessary.

Analysis: Iran attack on Israel, what comes next

Keio University Professor Tanaka Koichiro is an expert on Iran and the region.

Watch video 3:08


Israel: Most drones, missiles from Iran intercepted

Israel's military says it was able to intercept the vast majority of more than 300 drones and missiles launched from Iran.

Video from Jerusalem shows a light moving through the sky then exploding. Earlier, Iran's state-run TV reported that the country's Revolutionary Guards launched multiple drones and missiles toward Israel and the occupied Golan Heights.

Iran says the attack was retaliation for the one earlier this month on its embassy in Syria that killed a commander and other officers in its Revolutionary Guards. Israel is believed to be behind the attack.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi says the drone and missile operation has taught Israel a lesson, setting a new page in the history of Iran's authority. He warned that any new adventure against the interests of Iran would be met with a heavier response.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his country has been preparing for a direct attack by Iran, adding "we are ready for any scenario."

The Israeli military released video of what it says is an air force operation center. The military claims that by using the air defense system Arrow, it was able to intercept almost all missiles before they entered Israeli territory.

Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson Daniel Hagari said, "So far we have intercepted the vast majority of incoming missiles by Israeli systems."

Hagari says an Israeli military facility suffered some damage. Israel's ambulance service says a girl around the age of 10 was critically injured, but the details of her condition are not clear.

Israel has called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council.

Japan's Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko has denounced Iran's attacks on Israel. Kamikawa said Japan believes the attacks have aggravated the situation in the Middle East. She expressed the Japanese government's deep concerns and strong condemnation.


Funeral held for officers killed in airstrike on Iranian embassy in Syria

Iran held a funeral for a senior commander of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and six other officers killed in an airstrike on its embassy in Syria on April 1. Iran alleges the attack was carried out by Israel.

Six Syrian civilians also died in the attack in the capital, Damascus. People took to the streets for the funeral in Tehran on Friday. Iran sets the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan as a day to show solidarity with the Palestinians.

They displayed photos of the slain commander and banners with anti-Israeli and anti-US slogans, encircling cars carrying coffins and expressing their anger.

One banner accused Israel of committing a crime and said the country would be made to regret its actions.

Many called for revenge against Israel. One said Iran's response would be strong and firm. Another said "the rocket should be the answer to the rocket."

The chief commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Major General Hossein Salami, addressed the participants. He promised a reprisal for the Israeli strike, saying "no measures from any enemies on the holy system will remain unanswered."


Iran's supreme leader lays blame for attack on Iranian Embassy in Syria

Iran's supreme leader released a statement on Tuesday saying those who bombed his country's embassy compound in Syria will "regret" the crime. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed Israel's "Zionist regime."

Israel has not claimed responsibility.

The compound in Damascus was struck on April 1, and a consular building was destroyed. Iran's state-run media says 13 people were killed, including a senior commander of its elite Quds Force and Syrian citizens.

Syrian Prime Minister Hussein Arnous visited the embassy and also accused Israel, which he calls "a country that violates and does not understand the law."

Iranian Ambassador to Syria Hossein Akbari said, "There is, of course, an international responsibility toward this crime and, naturally, there will be an Iranian response." He called for the United Nations Security Council to take up the matter.

Members of the council held an emergency meeting on Tuesday. Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia questioned why US officials had not gathered any intelligence on the attack on the Iranian embassy.

Deputy US Ambassador Robert Wood denied his country was involved. He said, "One thing is clear: Iran and its proxy and partner groups need to avoid escalating tensions in the region."

Wood also accused Iran and Syria of backing groups that have plotted attacks on US and Israeli personnel and facilities.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has stressed his intention to take retaliatory measures following a deadly attack allegedly carried out by Israel on Iran's embassy in Syria.

Raisi said in a statement issued on Tuesday that Israel must know it will never achieve its "evil goals" with such "inhuman actions." He said Israel's attack "will not go unanswered."

His statement came a day after Iran's state-run media reported that an Israeli missile attack had destroyed a consular section of the Iranian embassy compound in the Syrian capital of Damascus.

The airstrike reportedly killed a senior commander, his deputy and five other officers. The commander is said to have belonged to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force, a unit in charge of special operations outside Iran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on social media he sent a message to the United States saying the US must be held responsible as a supporter of Israel. He said he gave the message to a Swiss embassy official. The embassy represents US interests in Iran as Tehran has no diplomatic relations with Washington.

Attacks on Syria believed to have been conducted by Israel have been intensifying since fighting erupted last October between Israeli forces and Hamas.

Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and other officers have been killed in a series of assaults. But it is the first time a diplomatic compound has been targeted.

Concerns are mounting that the latest incident could escalate tensions in the Middle East. Iran also backs the Lebanon-based Shia militant group Hezbollah and the Houthis in Yemen. Both have been attacking Israel in a show of solidarity with Hamas.


Analysis: What's next after attack on Iranian consulate in Syria?

Tanaka Koichiro, professor at Keio University appeared on NHK World's ASIA 24.

To watch the video: Analysis: Why a missile strike on an Iranian embassy?

Q. Iran is blaming Israel for Monday's deadly missile strike on its embassy in Damascus, Syria. An expert on the Middle East weighs in the attack. If Israel did this, why?

Professor Tanaka Koichiro: First of all, if it was Israel, they have always wanted to drag the United States into the war, which started on October 7, 2023.

So inviting Hezbollah's reaction, or Iran's reaction, would mean the US will have to step in. And that could be one of the reasons [behind the attack]. But also we need to look at the fact that Israel has been mobilizing its forces in northern Israel, appearing as though they are preparing to invade Lebanon, or launch a military campaign against Hezbollah. So those killed in the attack were the middleman of the IRGC, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, the guard corps of Iran that has been dealing with Hezbollah in Lebanon for a very long time. So by decapitating them, or eliminating them, it's possible the Israelis wanted to destroy the chain of command between the IRGC and Hezbollah, to make things easier for them [militarily].

Q. So why do you think Israel did it now?

Professor Tanaka: It's possible that because Israel has been subject to enormous international pressure over its conduct in Gaza, it may want to distract attention away from its military campaign.

Q. How do you think Iran will react?

Professor Tanaka: We have already seen that Iran has warned the US through Switzerland that they would hold the US responsible for Israeli aggression. And it's likely the Iranian proxies in Syria and Iraq may resume attacks against not Israelis, but against American interests and military positions. We also have to watch the Yemen Houthis who have been attacking vessels in the Red Sea. That could also intensify and lead to a regional escalation of the entire event.

Q. Is it possible to de-escalate the situation?

Professor Tanaka: Of course, if the issue of Palestine, or the Palestine question, is resolved, that may be a major start, but that's going to take years or decades, or maybe a century. But at least for now it will be possible, and also desirable, to see all countries suspend their military aid or supplies to the belligerent parties, state or non-state. Meaning, the US should stop its support and supply of sophisticated weapons to Israel unconditionally that have been continuing unconditionally and in almost unlimited amounts. At the same time, Iran should also suspend military assistance to the Houthis who have been attacking vessels with UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and other methods, and also to other proxies as well. So that could be the starting point.


Airstrike destroys Iranian embassy in Syria

Israeli forces are reported to have launched an airstrike on Monday on the Iranian embassy in Syria. At least seven people were killed, including a senior military commander.

Israeli officers are believed to have targeted the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia in Syria repeatedly over the last few months. They have not commented on the attack in Damascus. But Iranian state media reports the dead include a leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards.

Iran's ambassador to Syria, Hossein Akbari, issued a warning to Israeli leaders. "The Zionist entity knows very well that such crimes, any kind of crimes, will not come without a response," he said.

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said attacks on diplomats are "unjustified." "We expressed our condolences for the casualties and our sadness for these strikes," he said. Mekdad held a call with the Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian who said the strike is a "breach of all international conventions." Amir-Abdollahian said that repeated defeats in Gaza had caused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lose his "mental balance."

The suggestion came as Israeli forces claimed another victory in Gaza. They wrapped up an assault on Al-Shifa hospital after two weeks of fighting. They had said they had to clear it of "terrorists." They claim to have killed 200 militants and arrested hundreds of others. But medics and Hamas leaders deny any armed presence in hospitals.