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IDF: 99% of Projectiles Fired at Israel By Iran Intercepted; Celebrations in Iran After Attacks on Israel; Iran's Mission to U.N. Says Attack on Israel in Response to Damascus Consulate Strike Has Concluded; Officials: U.S. Intercepted More Than 70 Drones And at Least Three Ballistic Missiles. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired April 14, 2024 - 05:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Alex Marquardt live in Washington with our continuing CNN breaking news coverage of Iran's unprecedented strike inside Israel overnight. It is noon in Israel, the country getting back to normal following that historic, never before seen attack by Iran against Israel. Take a listen.

Those are the Israeli air raid sirens that Israeli citizens have become all too accustomed to in the past six months with the war between Israel and Hamas. But those were not Hamas rockets flying at Israel. Those were Iranian drones, ballistic and cruise missiles. The Israeli military saying that more than 300 of those projectiles were fired at Israel over the course of five hours. But the IDF says that the vast majority, almost all of 99% were shot down.

The few that did get through those formidable American allied and Israeli air defenses all across the region and in Israel, the few that got through did hit an air base in southern Israel in the Negev. But it only caused minor damage, we're told.

Now, Tehran is saying that the attack was in response to the Israeli strike last week, almost two weeks ago on the consulate building that what they claim is the consulate building of Iran's embassy in the Syrian capital of Damascus. That was on April 1st.

But Iran said as this attack was getting underway and as these drones and missiles were getting close to Iran and to Israeli airspace, that the matter was concluded, essentially saying that's all over for now, at least. Israel's Foreign Minister, for his part, is repeating an earlier statement that if Iran attacks inside Israel, as they just did, that Israel then reserves the right to strike back inside Iran. And that is the big question right now.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the head of the IRGC, says that if Israel hits Iranian interests anywhere, Tehran will respond directly again. So it goes without saying that tensions right now are sky high.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden has spoken in the past few hours with his Israeli counterpart, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. They spoke by phone and according to U.S. officials speaking to CNN, President Biden said that the outcome of what happened last night was essentially a win for Israel because the Iranian attacks had largely failed, because almost all of those drones and missiles were intercepted and taken down. There was no major damage and there were no deaths inside Israel.

Now, Prime Minister Netanyahu, for his part, he posted a statement on social media. You can see it right there. He said, quote, "We have intercepted, we have contained. Together we shall win."

So now that these Iranian attacks are over, Israel, Jordan and Iraq have all reopened their airspace. You can see those planes flying again. Airlines still avoiding flying over Iran, which includes a vital corridor for global and commercial travel.

I want to get straight back to Jerusalem and CNN's Nic Robertson, who has been up all night giving us a blow by blow of what he has been seeing and what he has -- is hearing.

Nic, I imagine right now you're not seeing and hearing much of anything aside from life getting back to normal. But this is a far from normal situation. Everyone on tenterhooks about what could happen next in terms of a potential Israeli response?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yeah, and we've heard, as you say, from the Foreign Minister saying, repeating what he had said, that if -- if Iran struck Israel, then Israel would strike back. The Defense Minister has indicated there is still more to come, that this isn't complete. It's not all done.

And the Prime Minister in in his very brief statement, we -- together we will win. And that sounds indicative that there's more to come. But there is no one in the Israeli government yet who's saying definitively we are going to go and strike back Iran, that that is -- that is a final decision.


What we understand is happening is this afternoon, the Israeli war cabinet, that's the Prime Minister Netanyahu's very small war cabinet, will make the decision on how Israel will respond.

Now, that had been expected. That cabinet session had been expected earlier in the day. What they decide, I think, will then set the tone for what's to come. Interestingly, both Iran and Israel, from -- from very senior leadership levels, the President here in Israel saying, you know, well done to the Air Force, well done to the army, well done to the intelligence services. Thank you, United States. Thank you, President Biden. Thank you, White House. And in Iran, saying that they essentially have reset the agenda with Israel, that Israel can no longer strike their interests in the region without expecting a strike back. So on the one hand, both sides are saying we've succeeded. President Biden stressed that with Prime Minister Netanyahu, that it was a success. But the notion that Israel would stand back now and let Iran be able to strike it back at will without a response more, that seems unlikely.

MARQUARDT: And Nic, certainly playing into what the officials, the ministers in that war cabinet are going to be discussing, is this clear sense that from Israel's closest ally, the United States, that they don't -- that the U.S. doesn't want to see Israel do anything in this moment to essentially take the win?

ROBERTSON: Yeah. And Iran has also made it very clear to the United States if -- if they do support Israel and Israel strikes back, then U.S. troops in the region won't be safe. So the lines are being drawn. But the track record of Prime Minister Netanyahu listening to President Biden's wishes, as we've seen in Gaza, more than 33,000 Palestinians killed there, serious food shortages, lack of humanitarian aid in the north of Gaza, in particular, people close to starvation. President Biden pressing for many months for Israel to change that dynamic. And only marginal change is coming.

President Biden's will and wish that is expressed to Prime Minister Netanyahu may not influence Prime Minister Netanyahu's decision. I mean, it isn't clear at this moment. But -- but if you study the track record, it is likely that the Prime Minister will operate in what he thinks is Israel's interest.

The concern in the population here is that the more he turns his face away and ignores what President Biden says, the weaker the U.S. support for Israel going forward. And very significantly, the United States has made very clear that it was their support for Israel that helped them have a successful defense last night. So any growing rift, that's a big worry for a big part of the population here.

MARQUARDT: To what extent Prime Minister feels -- Netanyahu feels indebted to President Biden because of that significant support that, of course, remains to be seen. Nic Robertson, a terrific reporting in Jerusalem, as always. Thank you very much.

Meanwhile, in Iran's Capital, crowds of people have been gathering in the streets to celebrate.

Iran's state alliance Tasnim news agency showed this demonstration with people chanting, honking car horns and waving Palestinian flags in Tehran's Palestine Square, showing their support for Iran's attack on Israel. CNN's Paula Hancocks joins me now from Abu Dhabi.

Paula, what do you make of what we're hearing from Iranian officials in terms of essentially saying, well, this is over for now, but we are willing to do more if there is an Israeli retaliation?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Alex, it's interesting because what we have heard as well from the commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Guards is that this has really changed the equation. The fact that this was the first time that Iran had carried out an attack against Israel from Iranian territory, from Iranian soil, but saying that that has happened now.

So in the future, if Israel were to carry out an attack or to threaten any of its assets or people, then Iran wouldn't think twice about carrying out this kind of attack again. It shows the escalation. Of course, it's very difficult to do something for the first time, but then once it's done once, it does become easier. And that is, of course, concern for many in the region that this significant escalation could result in a much more dangerous tit for tat between the two countries than we have seen in the past.


Now, we also heard from Tehran that they believe now that this has concluded. We heard this messaging from the U.N. -- the Iranian representation to the U.N., saying that this has concluded. This was in response to what we saw earlier this month on April 1st, when there was a strike against an Iranian consulate in Damascus.

Now, they say seven were killed, including two commanders, one senior within the Revolutionary Guards. And they say that they believe this is over. That was repeated again today, this Sunday. They believe that this has been concluded. Of course, it's not up to the Iranians at this point. It really is a wait and see scenario to see if Israel is going to carry out any kind of response.

What we're also seeing from Tehran is that they are very keen for this to be seen as between Iran and Israel. They gave very clear messaging before this happened that the U.S. should stay out of it. And they have also given messaging after the attacks and missile launches overnight, saying that they have given a message to the United States through the Swiss embassy that they should not get involved.

If they do, then U.S. bases in the region could be targeted. We have seen dozens of attacks against U.S. bases in Syria and in Iraq over recent months, certainly since October 7th. So this is really Tehran trying to message that they believe this is over, potentially saying they hope this -- they don't necessarily want to see this escalate too far. And they also hope that the U.S. does stay on the sidelines. Alex.

MARQUARDT: Yeah, the ball very much back in Israel's court. So it's not necessarily for Iran to say right now. So they may be bracing for what may come next from Israel. Paula Hancocks in Abu Dhabi, thank you very much.

I want to get straight to CNN Senior White House Reporter Kevin Liptak. Kevin, we saw hours of meetings in the Situation Room last night, President Biden meeting with his top national security advisers. What are we hearing from the White House?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yeah, certainly some tense moments there inside the White House as President Biden was really monitoring this event in real time. And you'll remember, Alex, President Biden actually rushed back from his beach house in Delaware to be in the Situation Room with all of sort of the monitoring equipment that is necessary for this kind of event.

Of course, President Biden is in something of a tenuous situation here as he works to contain the situation, prevent it from exploding into a regional conflict, while also demonstrating support for Israel, the kind of that was necessary for preventing a much worse attack from happening last night.

And the President did speak with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Of course, there have been tensions between these two men over the war in Gaza, but certainly last night President Biden seeking to diminish any daylight between them.

In a statement, the President said, "I've just spoken with Prime Minister Netanyahu to reaffirm America's ironclad commitment to the security of Israel." The President goes on to say, "I told him that Israel demonstrated a remarkable capacity to defend against and defeat even unprecedented attacks, sending a clear message to its foes that they cannot effectively threaten the security of Israel."

And I think reading between the lines of that statement and also talking to American officials, President Biden is saying here you won, you just take the win. The U.S. does view Israel's response to this attack as successful. They don't see any targets of value having been struck. The majority, the vast majority of Israeli drones and missiles shot down before making impact. And President Biden essentially telling Netanyahu here that this should be considered a success.

We also heard from an American official that President Biden told his counterpart that the U.S. would not participate in any offensive operations against Iran, so essentially drawing a line here, certainly mindful of the effect that a reprisal from Israel and the United States would have on U.S. forces in the region.

Now, President Biden today plans to confer with the leaders of the G7 on a diplomatic path forward, and certainly the emphasis is on diplomacy and not necessarily on military actions in the days ahead. Alex.

MARQUARDT: And I'm sure that he'll be speaking again quite soon with his Israeli counterpart after such a dramatic attack by Iran. CNN's Kevin Liptack, White House Reporter, thank you very much.

I want to bring in Steven Cook, a Senior Fellow of Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, joining us live now from Athens in Greece.


Steven, thanks so much for joining us. I want to start where Kevin left off there. What do you make of this White House statement and the reporting that we're getting from the White House that is essentially telling Israel, take the win, you did very well at defending yourselves. And also, if you decide to go after Iran now, we're not going to join you? STEVEN COOK, SENIOR FELLOW OF MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Yeah, it's -- I think, from the perspective of the White House, the Israelis demonstrated their rather extraordinary technical capacity, of course, with the help of the United States and other regional powers.

But that it's not necessary now, demonstrating -- giving that Israel demonstrated this technical capability to escalate and risk a regional conflict. I think the Israelis, from their perspective, look at it quite differently, that Iran attacked Israel directly. This is the third time in the last five years that Iran has used drones to attack regional partners of the United States. These are the same drones that are being used in Ukraine, that it is time to bring this threat to an end, which is why you see that their -- the Israelis have not yet said that they'll stand down.

MARQUARDT: What is your anticipation? Do you think that they will carry out this, some kind of retaliation? I mean, you've got two extraordinary forces competing with each other here. One, the Iranian attack against Israel that we've never seen before, and at the same time, Israel's biggest ally essentially saying, don't do it.

COOK: Yeah, I think it puts Prime Minister Netanyahu in a very, very difficult position. Certainly, the Israelis could not have done this had the United States not played a central role in coordinating the regional response to the Iranian threat. At the same time, there's going to be significant political pressure within Israel to strike back at Iran for a direct attack on Israel, something that has never happened before.

It may not be spectacular in the sense that the Israelis fire their own missiles on Iranian territory, but at some point, it seems likely, given the politics in Israel right now, that the Israelis will respond in kind.

MARQUARDT: What do you make of the fact, Steven, that this was almost entirely an attack by Iran against Israel, that the proxies essentially did not get involved here? We didn't see anything major, major from Hezbollah or the Houthis. I should say there were some projectiles fired from Yemen, from Lebanon. But this was not a concerted effort by all of the pro-Iran forces in the region. It really was Iran essentially by itself.

COOK: It is somewhat a surprise that the proxies did not get involved as well. But I think after the Israeli attack on the IRGC headquarters in Damascus, that the Iranians believe that they had to respond directly themselves, that for their own politics, for their own regional standing, they needed to no longer hide behind their proxies and take on the Israelis directly.

MARQUARDT: All right. Steven Cook in Athens, thank you so much for joining us today. Really appreciate your time and your thoughts.

COOK: My pleasure.

MARQUARDT: All right. We are learning more about how the United States helped Israel fend off Iran's attacks and what it's doing now in the aftermath. We will have more of our breaking news coverage in just a moment. Stay with us.



MARQUARDT: Those are some of the scenes in southern Israel last night amid Iran's attack on Israel. You can see the interceptions there of those Iranian projectiles that were flying into Israel overnight. More than 300 drones, ballistic and cruise missiles targeting Israel in an unprecedented and historic attack. Major questions now about how Israel will respond.

United States President Joe Biden is expected to meet with G7 leaders today to coordinate what's being called a united diplomatic response to Iran's attack against Israel. Biden also making it clear that the U.S. will not be participating in any offensive operations by Israel against Iran. That's according to a U.S. official speaking with CNN.

But the U.S. did help Israel in a very significant way during the Iranian attack overnight. Officials saying that U.S. forces intercepted more than 70 Iranian drones and at least three ballistic missiles that were all heading for Israel. U.S. fighter jets were scrambled and U.S. warships in the eastern Mediterranean Sea were also part of the effort.

Iran's mission to the U.N. is warning that if Israel commits what it called any further military aggression, that Tehran's response will be, quote, "stronger and more resolute." CNN's Fred Pleitgen has more on that.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Iranians have said that the massive strikes that they unleashed on Israeli territory were a direct retaliation for the strikes on the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus that, of course, the Iranians say killed several top-level members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Now, the Israelis, of course, have not claimed responsibilities for those strikes in Damascus, but the Iranians have said that they do hold Israel accountable for it, and so they say that right now the retaliation was for exactly that.

The Iranians put out a statement earlier where they said that with this retaliation, as they put it, the matter can be deemed to be concluded. In other words, it could stop there. But the Iranians are also saying that all of that, of course, depends on the United States and depends very much on Israel as well.


In fact, the Iranians are saying that if Israel does decide to take this further, to retaliate once again, that then the Iranians would, for their part, also launch what they call a proportional response to all that. The Iranians were saying that the strikes that they conducted, which, of course, involved a lot of drones, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles, that they consider that to be an act of self-defense, as they put it. At the same time, they warned both the United States and Israel not to take things even further.

One nuance that was very important in all of this is that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps actually put out a statement as well where they also said that they hold the U.S. accountable for any actions that Israel would take and told the U.S., as they said, to stay out of the matter.

Of course, the Iranians threaten the United States quite frequently in the Middle East. One of the things that we've heard repeatedly from Iranian officials, but also from former members of the IRGC, is that they say the United States needs to understand that next to every military base, or almost every military base that the U.S. has in the Middle East, that there is an Iranian-backed militia out there that could attack U.S. assets in the Middle East.

So certainly, the Iranians are saying that for the U.S., this could get very real. But at the same time, they also say that they don't want this matter to be taken any further. However, they do say that if the Israelis do launch attacks against Iranian territory, that Iran would be ready. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.


MARQUARDT: Our thanks to Fred Pleitgen. Now I'll bring in CNN's Senior International Correspondent, Ben Wedeman, who joins us now from Beirut.

Ben, one of the big questions amid this Iranian attack last night was to what extent the Iranian proxies in the region, the Iranian-backed groups, would join in this attack on Israel, Hezbollah being the most formidable among them. So what did Hezbollah do overnight, and what is the reaction there today?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, overnight, we do know, Alex, that Hezbollah, according to them, fired tens of Katyusha rockets at an Israeli anti-missile, or rather missile defense, in the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights. We did see sort of an intensification of action along the border between Israel and Lebanon, and what we did see this morning is that Israel has struck fairly deep inside Lebanon on the town of Nabi Chit, which is in the Beqaa Valley, far away from the border. There, the Israelis apparently destroyed one building. There was also a strike on the Iqlim al-Tuffah area. It's in southern Lebanon, but well away from the border itself.

But what we heard in the days leading up to the Iranian retaliation last night was that Hezbollah was stepping back, was going to -- basically, we were told by an official close to Hezbollah that Hezbollah understood that it would be an exclusively Iranian response to the Israeli strike on the 1st of April on the Iranian consulate in Damascus. So it does appear that at the moment we're kind of back to where we

were prior to last night's strikes. Israel is striking targets inside Lebanon. Hezbollah, we assume, is going to resume its fire onto Israeli positions in the northern part of the country and also in the Golan Heights.

Overnight, of course, the Beirut airport was closed. Lebanese airspace was closed. But it does appear things are sort of getting back to what passes for normal here in Lebanon. Alex?

MARQUARDT: Yeah. Things rather significantly changed following that attack by Iran against Israel. But as you say, to some extent, back to where we were. Ben Wedeman in Beirut, thanks very much.

The day after this unprecedented attack by Iran against Israel, there are harsh words on both sides. Iran had, of course, launched hundreds of drones and missiles towards Israel overnight, more than 300 of them. We will have the latest developments from the Middle East straight ahead. Stay with us.



MARQUARDT: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Alex Marquardt in Washington.

A quick update on the latest developments out of Israel. The U.S. President and other leaders are advising restraint, but Israel's Foreign Minister is not walking away from warnings that he has made before.

The IDF says that Iran fired more than 300 drones, ballistic missiles, cruise missiles overnight, and 99% of them, Israel says, were shot down. But Israel's foreign minister has repeated his earlier comments that if Iran attacks inside Israel, as we just saw, Israel will then reserve the right to strike inside Iran, and that is the big question today.

The Chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps says that if Israel targets any Iranian interests, that Tehran will respond directly again. So tensions are sky-high right now.

Meanwhile, in Israel, Iraq and Jordan airspaces have been reopened. The United Nations Security Council is also set to meet in the coming hours after Israel called for condemnation of Iran's attack. But these are some of the scenes inside Iran. Celebrations breaking out on the streets of Tehran after word of the Iranian attack against Israel reached the masses.

Joining us now is the former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Prime Minister, thank you so much for joining us on such an important day. We understand that the Israeli war cabinet is going to be meeting. The big question we all have right now is whether Israel will respond to this unprecedented attack against Israeli territory from Iran itself? EHUD BARAK, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: Look, we attacked the Damascus and killed one of the leaders of the Al-Quds force. They responded by these dramatic missile attack. It -- they failed dramatically. Basically, the alliance between Israel and the United States, the local partners for Abrahamic Accords and the Peace Agreement, including probably the Saudis, all joined hands in order to defeat dramatically this attack.


So now what we need is to think before -- think before action and adopt certain kind of strategic patience. We have to look at the whole picture. We are still stuck in Gaza. We still have the hostages. We still have to pacify the north in order to enable our refugees within Israel to go back to their homes.

And we, after defeating in such an impressive way, flying colors kind of air defense, defeated Iran, we will have a time to respond to this attack later on. We are fighting behind the shadows with Iran for a long time, and it can wait another few months.

First of all, end of Gaza, bringing back the hostages, calming down the north, and more than anything else, join the alliance led by America of pragmatic, moderate regimes in the Middle East against the rogue axis led by Iran, Hezbollah, Syria, Hamas, and the others, and backed by Russia. This opportunity for a new regional order led by the Americans with Israel as the centerpiece of it is the right strategy for Israel, rather than to do what the Netanyahu government is doing for a long time, yielding to the extreme, racist, messianic misogynist in our government.

MARQUARDT: But that raises the question of, do you think that Prime Minister Netanyahu agrees with you? Will he able -- be able to look at this unprecedented attack from Iran and essentially say we did a good job with the support of our allies in preventing any real damage and just leave it at that? Or do you expect that he will not be able to resist and instead will carry out some kind of a faster direct strike against Iran?

BARAK: His behavior in the recent half a year and in the recent five years was so hectic and inconsistent that I cannot predict what he will propose, but he is not an American president. He is not commander-in-chief. He cannot decide alone. He has to pass through a war cabinet which has certain rational, much more stable and kind of wider zoom kind of participants. And I hope that he will be convinced.

Even the conversation with President Biden, I don't know what exactly they exchanged, but his behavior after the last kind of come-to-Jesus conversation that he had with Biden, he behaved much better within 36 hours.

We pulled out from Gaza the last division level unit there, and we opened the road for triple the volume humanitarian aid and even kind of were ready to consider flexibilities that were not shown before in regard to the hostages. So somehow Netanyahu is not totally independent. He's not just

hovering in the air. He listens to the Americans. He listens to some members of his cabinet, and I hope that it will end up with kind of a good trajectory for Israel which is looking reality in the eye and not trying to deal with every threat in the world simultaneously but deal with them one by one.

MARQUARDT: All right. Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, thank you very much for your time this morning. Really appreciate it.

BARAK: Thank you.

MARQUARDT: Joining me live here in Washington is CNN Military Analyst and retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton. Colonel Leighton, we were on the air together last night as this attack was unfolding. It was not clear at the time the scale of the attack. We now know that it was more than 300 of these attack drones, of ballistic missiles, of cruise missiles. What do you make of how Israel and the U.S. and other allies managed to shoot the vast majority of them down?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (ret.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yeah, good morning, Alex. Yeah, last night we weren't quite sure how this would unfold, and at the moment what we see is a tremendous ability to unify not only the Israeli and American militaries but also other militaries both on the European side of defense such as the U.K. as well as some regional allies that very quietly helped with this.


So this was basically the idea of an integrated air defense system, that not only is integrated in the technical sense, which is what one normally thinks of when you talk in those terms, but also in integration of the national militaries, and that proved to be very successful with approximately 99% or so of the missiles and drones and other devices that the Iranians were throwing at Israel, those being destroyed, that is a significant success. And no major damage in Israel, that also is a major success, and that really can be attributed to not only pretty good preparation but also really good real-time intelligence.

MARQUARDT: Do you think Iran anticipated the success in thwarting their attack, or did they think they would be able to overwhelm the air defense systems and actually get something through and cause some real damage?

LEIGHTON: I think they thought they could overwhelm the air defense systems, the Israeli air defense systems especially. When you look at the tactics that not only Iran used in this case but also their proxies such as Hezbollah and Hamas have used in the past, it's pretty clear that they believe that if they overwhelm these systems, they can actually achieve some degree of success. And the way they've done this in the past would lend some credence to that theory.

But it was not successful in this particular case because the preparation was quite good, and I think we have also learned, especially the Israelis have learned, about the -- you know, how this works from Hamas and Hezbollah, and they were able to in essence anticipate some of what the Iranians were going to do.

MARQUARDT: In terms of that anticipation, what did you learn last night? The Pentagon wasn't being terribly transparent about what assets had been moved, where we thought it might be beefing up air defenses, moving air defenses, moving naval ships.

But what did you learn in terms of the U.S. force posture in light of their ability to essentially take out, I think the U.S. is claiming almost 100 of these drones, I think 70 drones and several of the missiles that we might not have known before?

LEIGHTON: Yeah, I think what we see here is a movement -- the result of the movement of forces into the eastern Mediterranean, plus the use of our military capabilities in neighboring countries, such as Jordan and a little bit further east, Iraq, and even our installations in Syria potentially may have helped with this. Plus, also installations in places like the Gulf States.

So all of this came together, and in essence we cast a very wide net using resources that were in place in theater, plus national level resources such as satellites, both for imagery and signals intelligence, and also other sources that we were able to glean from normal technical means, and that is the kind of thing that I think really helped. But yes, the forces were postured and positioned in a correct way, and I think the fact that General Kurilla, the commander of CENTCOM, was in Israel in the run-up to this event also indicates that there was a high degree of cooperation between the two militaries that resulted in a very successful countering of this Iranian attack.

MARQUARDT: Yeah, significant cooperation, General Kurilla there on the ground in Israel for the past few days, certainly helping walk the Israelis through what may be coming and how they might respond and work together in tandem, as clearly they did so well. Colonel Cedric Leighton, thank you very much.

And still ahead, reaction to Iran's attack on Israel continues to come in. We will have responses from all around the world. Stay with CNN.



MARQUARDT: Responses to Iran's unprecedented attack against Israel are pouring in from all around the world. The French President Emmanuel Macron, he's condemning what he calls the unprecedented attack launched by Iran towards Israel, warning in a statement that the attack threatens to destabilize the region. That is something that we're hearing from a lot of corners today.

China, expressing what it calls deep concern, is calling for calm and restraint. A statement released by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs says, quote, "China calls on the international community, especially countries with influence, to play a constructive role for the peace and stability of the region."

Similar statement from the government of Qatar, expressing what it calls profound concern. The Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs saying that Qatar has, quote, "called on all parties to cease escalation, calm tensions and exercise maximum restraint."

Joining us with more is International Correspondent Scott McLean in Istanbul. So, Scott, who else are we hearing from on this?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alex, I think it's worth remembering that the Iranians made quite clear in the last few days that, look, this could all potentially be avoided if there had been a very strong condemnation of the initial strike on April 1st against the diplomatic compound belonging to Iran in Damascus. But there was not that condemnation because the U.S., the U.K., France all pointed to questions about the true use of that building in Damascus. Of course, the Israelis claim that that building was not an embassy or a consulate, that it was for military purposes.

In this case, though, there has been a very strong widespread condemnation coming from the West. The British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, wrote this in part. "Iran has once again demonstrated that it is intent on sowing chaos in its own backyard."

We also heard from the U.N. Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, who, by the way, did condemn that strike on the diplomatic facility in Damascus. He's also condemning this, saying, "I'm deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation. I urge all parties to exercise maximum restraint."

We've also hearing a similar message just in the last little bit from the Russian Foreign Ministry urging diplomacy. The messages coming out of the Middle East is also sounding quite measured, like this one from the Saudis, saying, "This region is crucial for global peace and security, and the Security Council, the U.N. Security Council, must act to prevent the crisis from escalating, which would have grave consequences if it expands."


Of course, Middle Eastern countries would have the most to lose if it does, and that's why you have the Jordanians urging restraint on all sides. You have the Emiratis warning about new levels of instability, and you have the Egyptians saying that this all was relatively predictable, saying, quote, "This escalation is nothing but a direct result of what Egypt has repeatedly warned about regarding the dangers of expanding the conflict in the region as a result of the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip and the provocative military actions being exercised in the region." That last line, of course, could be a reference easily to both Iranian actions or Israeli reactions in the last few weeks and even prior to that.

We have seen very clearly over the past weeks, two weeks almost, the United States, other countries, Western allies urging Iran directly and indirectly to turn down the temperature on all of this. Now it is the Iranians trying to get those other countries not to respond. But of course, ultimately, any response will be up to the Israelis.

And we know, Alex, that the Israelis have not been keen since the war began months ago to take advice even from some of its closest allies.

MARQUARDT: Yeah, profound concern pouring in from all around the world, really hoping that there is no escalation from here. Scott McLean in Istanbul, thank you very much.

And all of you stay with us. We will have much more of our breaking news coverage of Iran's unprecedented attack on Israel in just a moment.



MARQUARDT: After a wave of Iranian attacks on Israel that you can see right there overnight, Iran's army chief of staff is warning the United States against cooperating in any future Israeli attacks, saying American bases will not have any security and will be dealt with. Of course, for months we saw attacks by Iranian-backed proxy groups against U.S. bases that then ended back in February. Those could resume is what Iran is saying.

And this comes as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken on the phone in the past few hours with U.S. President Joe Biden. He urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to avoid escalation and said that the U.S. will not participate in any offensive Israeli operation against Iran.

But on the streets of Tehran, people are celebrating. They are waving Palestinian and even Hezbollah flags, the flag of that militant group in Lebanon. And the commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps says that if Israel attacks Iranian interests or assets, Iran will respond directly again.

Now, as regional tensions explode, let's -- please not forget the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, the innocent civilians who are caught in the middle as well. And there are ways to help. There is also swift reaction here in Washington on Capitol Hill on the attacks in Israel. And Congress could consider legislation supporting Israel sometime this week.

Meanwhile, roughly 1,000 U.S. troops are en route to the region to help set up a floating pier to be used to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza. It's expected to be up and running by the end of April or early May. I'm Alex Marquardt here in Washington.

"CNN This Morning" continues right after this break.