Several US military personnel were injured in a major rocket attack targeting an air base in Iraq, officials said on Saturday.
The US personnel suffered minor injuries and a member of Iraq’s security forces was seriously wounded in the attack on Iraq’s Ain al-Asad air base, a US official said.
Iraqi security sources said the base was hit by multiple rockets fired from inside the country.
The US has 900 troops in Syria and 2,500 in Iraq on a mission to advise and assist local forces trying to prevent a resurgence of Islamic State, which in 2014 seized large parts of both countries before being defeated.
Since the Israel-Hamas war began in October, the US military has come under attack from Iran-backed militants at least 58 times in Iraq and another 83 times in Syria, usually with a mix of rockets and one-way attack drones.
The Iran-backed groups see themselves as part of Tehran’s “Axis of Resistance” and are striking the United States for its support of Israel against Hamas.
The attack on Saturday came hours after a suspected Israeli strike killed Iran’s intelligence chief in Syria as well as three other Iranian military advisers, according to Iranian media reports.
“The Revolutionary Guards’ Syria intel chief, his deputy and two other Guards members were martyred in the attack on Syria by Israel,” Iran’s Mehr news agency reported.
The strike had targeted a neighbourhood thought to shelter senior leaders of the IRGC, and pro-Iranian Palestinian factions, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor.
A security source told Reuters that the building struck in Damascus had been used by Iranian advisors supporting Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s government, and that it was completely destroyed by “precision-targeted Israeli missiles.”
The source said a fifth person was also killed, but could not identify the nationality. A local hospital said that some people had arrived with injuries following the attack.
Israel, which has been bombing Iran-linked targets in Syria in recent months, has not yet commented on the strike, which comes four days after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed it had attacked an Israeli “spy headquarters” in Erbil in northern Iraq.
Iran launched its first direct military attacks since war broke out in October between Israel and Hamas, raising concerns that fighting could spillover into the broader Middle East region.
Within less than two days, Iran launched three direct strikes into foreign territory, hitting targets in Iraq, Syria and Pakistan with missiles and drones.
“We are a missile power in the world,” Mohammed Reza Ashtiani, Iran’s defence minister said, in comments carried on state media.
“Whenever they want to threaten the Islamic Republic of Iran, we will react, and this reaction will definitely be proportionate, tough and decisive.”
05:07 PM GMT
That’s all for today.
Thanks for following the Telegraph’s live blog. We’ll be back tomorrow with the latest updates on the war.
04:57 PM GMT
US personnel suffer minor injuries in attack on base in Iraq
US personnel suffered minor injuries and a member of Iraq’s security forces was seriously wounded in an attack on Iraq’s Ain al-Asad air base on Saturday, a U.S. official said.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said initial reports indicated that the base was hit by ballistic missiles but he left open the possibility it was struck by rockets. An assessment was ongoing, the official said.
Two security sources in Iraq and one government source said the base was hit by multiple rockets fired from inside Iraq.
A second U.S. official said the attack was carried out by militants from inside Iraq.
04:41 PM GMT
US carries out fresh strikes on Houthi rebels
The United States carried out fresh strikes against Yemen’s Huthi rebels Saturday, the military said, targeting an anti-ship missile that was “prepared to launch.”
Washington is seeking to reduce the Iran-backed Huthis’ military capabilities, but the Yemeni rebels have continued their attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, despite more than a week of strikes, and have vowed to keep targeting merchant vessels.
At around 4 am Sanaa time (0100 GMT), US “forces conducted airstrikes against a Huthi anti-ship missile that was aimed into the Gulf of Aden and was prepared to launch,” a statement from US Central Command said Saturday.
“US forces determined the missile presented a threat to merchant vessels and US Navy ships in the region, and subsequently struck and destroyed the missile in self-defense.”
03:39 PM GMT
Iran says it “reserves the right” to respond to Israeli attack in Syria
Iran on Saturday blamed Israel for a strike on Damascus, saying it “reserves the right to respond” after the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said four of its members had died.
Foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said Tehran would respond “at the appropriate time and place”, and condemned “an escalation in aggressive and provocative attacks” by Tehran’s arch-foe Israel.
02:44 PM GMT
Watch: Houthi missile strikes Red Sea cargo ship
Footage has emerged of the moment a Greek-owned cargo ship was struck by a Houthi missile while heading through the Red Sea.
The Malta-flagged vessel, the MT Zografia, was sailing from Vietnam to Israel on Tuesday with 24 crew on board when it was attacked 76 nautical miles northwest of the Yemeni port of Saleef.
An onboard camera captured the impact of the missile, fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
Watch the footage here.
02:09 PM GMT
Netanyahu tells US he rejects Palestinian sovereignty in Gaza Strip
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday he told US President Joe Biden that he rejected Palestinian sovereignty in the Gaza Strip, in a call the day before.
The two leaders spoke by phone on Friday for the first time in nearly a month, with Biden saying following the call that he believed it was still possible Netanyahu could agree to some form of Palestinian state.
“In his conversation with President Biden, Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated his policy that after Hamas is destroyed Israel must retain security control over Gaza to ensure that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel, a requirement that contradicts the demand for Palestinian sovereignty,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement issued on Saturday.
On Thursday, Netanyahu had rejected Palestinian sovereignty over the occupied West Bank, saying it was incompatible with Israel’s need to have “security control over all the territory west of the (River) Jordan”.
01:27 PM GMT
Netanyahu accused of lying over claim Hamas can be defeated by military means
A member of Israel’s War Cabinet has accused Benjamin Netanyahu of lying by claiming that Hamas can be defeated militarily.
In his first public statement on the course of the war, Gadi Eisenkot, a former army chief, said: “Whoever speaks of absolute defeat is not speaking the truth.
“That is why we should not tell stories,” he told Israel’s Channel 12 television. “Today, the situation already in the Gaza Strip is such that the goals of the war have not yet been achieved.”
Read the full piece here.
12:48 PM GMT
Israeli forces raid military compound in Khan Younis
The Israeli military said that it raided a military compound in Khan Younis, neutralizing ready-to-use rocket launchers and found explosives stashed underground while an aircraft struck two gunmen there.
The Gaza health ministry said Israeli strikes have killed 165 people and wounded 280 others in the past 24 hours, one of the biggest death tolls in a single day in 2024.
12:04 PM GMT
Israeli strike on Lebanon kills two members of Hamas
An Israeli strike on southern Lebanon on Saturday killed two members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas as they were traveling in a car, three security sources in Lebanon told Reuters.
Israel has been carrying out air strikes on southern Lebanon against Palestinian militant groups based there as well as their Lebanese ally Hezbollah, a powerful armed group, which have fired rockets across the border at Israel.
11:30 AM GMT
Israel strikes targets across Gaza Strip
Israel pounded targets across the Gaza Strip on Saturday while its planes dropped leaflets on the southern area of Rafah urging Palestinians seeking refuge there to help locate hostages held by Hamas, residents said.
Palestinian fighters battled tanks trying to push back into the eastern suburbs of the Jabalia area in northern Gaza, where Israel had started pulling out troops and shifting to smaller-scale operations, residents and militants said.
The Israeli military said aircraft struck militant squads trying to plant explosives near troops and fire missiles at tanks in northern Gaza and said it was striking targets throughout Gaza.
In the southern area of Khan Younis, where Israel says it has expanded its operations against Hamas, witnesses said tanks shelled areas around Nasser Hospital overnight, describing the bombardment as the most intense in many days.
11:05 AM GMT
War in pictures
10:34 AM GMT
Rifts in Israel’s war cabinet over hostage strategy
A member of Israel’s War Cabinet cast doubt on the country’s strategy for releasing hostages held by Hamas, saying only a cease-fire can free them, as the prime minister rejected the United States’ calls to scale back its offensive.
The comments by Gadi Eisenkot, a former army chief, marked the latest sign of disagreement among top Israeli officials over the direction of the war against Hamas, now in its fourth month.
In his first public statements on the course of the war, Mr Eisenkot said that claims the dozens of hostages could be freed by means other than a cease-fire amounted to spreading “illusions” – an implicit criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who heads the five-member War Cabinet and who insists that pursuing the war will win their release.
Mr Eisenkot’s statements came as some relatives of hostages have intensified their protests, a sign of mounting frustration over the government’s seeming lack of progress toward a deal to release the remaining captives.
10:03 AM GMT
Tehran: Two high-ranking Iranian military advisers killed in Israeli strike
Two high-ranking Iranian military advisers were killed in an Israeli strike on the Syrian capital Damascus on Saturday, Iranian media outlets reported.
“Two high-ranking Iranian advisers were martyred in today’s attack by the Zionist regime (Israel) in the Mazzeh neighbourhood of Damascus,” Iran’s Mehr news agency said, quoting an informed but unnamed source.
09:44 AM GMT
Biden says two-state solution possible under Netanyahu
US President Joe Biden on Friday said he spoke with Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu about possible solutions for creation of an independent Palestinian state, suggesting one path could involve a non-militarized government.
Mr Biden’s call with Mr Netanyahu was the first in nearly a month, the White House said, noting the discussions focused on Israel’s ongoing strikes in Gaza.
White House spokesperson John Kirby told reporters that Biden had been trying to schedule the call “for quite a bit of time” and denied it came in response to Mr Netanyahu’s comment on Thursday saying he objected to Palestinian statehood that did not guarantee Israel’s security.
Asked if a two-state solution was impossible while Mr Netanyahu was still in office, Mr Biden said, “No, it’s not.”
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with U.S. mayors, Mr Biden said Mr Netanyahu was not opposed to all two-state solutions, and there were a number of types possible, noting that some United Nations members do not have military forces.