Following a significant escalation of hostilities, the Middle East is on high alert with Iran and Israel exchanging threats and attacks. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have urged residents in certain areas to stay close to shelters, while the country has vowed “a significant response”.

Tensions in the Middle East escalated sharply over the weekend as Iran launched a series of drone attacks on Saturday against Israel, following threats from Iran’s Supreme Leader in retaliation for an Israeli airstrike.

The drone strikes were a response to a suspected Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria, on 1 April, Iran’s foreign ministry said. This is the first time that Iran has carried out attacks on Israeli territory.

The IDF has instructed residents in the northern and southern regions, including Golan Heights, Nevatim, Dimona and Eilat, to stay near shelters amid ongoing threats. The attacks led to significant injuries, including a 10-year-old severely wounded by shrapnel in the Negev region.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock expressed support for Israel and condemned the attacks, warning that they risk plunging the region into chaos. The US has also engaged, with defence forces actively shooting down Iranian drones to bolster Israel’s defences. However, President Joe Biden has said his forces will not engage in any offensive operations against Iran.

Israel’s air defence systems have intercepted numerous strikes across the country, including over major cities like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, while sirens continued to sound throughout the night.

As of Sunday morning, Israel, Iraq and Jordan had all reopened their airspace, having closed them overnight. However, Iran has suspended all flights until Monday morning.

According to the BBC’s Frank Gardner, Israel has vowed “a significant response” to the attack.

Taking to social media, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “we will win”, with President Isaac Herzog adding “good will overcome the forces of evil”.