Iran has launched a retaliatory attack on Israel, marking a significant escalation in the ongoing conflict between the two nations.

Hundreds of aerial drones and missiles were deployed, with Israel claiming to have intercepted the majority of them.

Despite minimal damage, tensions remain high, with both sides on alert for further developments. International leaders, including US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, have condemned the attack and called for restraint to prevent further escalation.

The UN Security Council is set to convene for an emergency meeting to address the situation.

Two US officials told CBS, the BBC’s US partner, that American forces had shot down several drones, but did not specify where or how they were intercepted.

The UK Ministry of Defence said RAF jets had been deployed in Iraq and Syria to intercept “any airborne attacks within range of our existing missions”.

Sirens sounded across Israel and loud explosions were heard over Jerusalem, with air defence systems shooting down objects over the city.

Iran’s IRGC – the most powerful branch of its armed forces – said it had launched the attack “in retaliation against the Zionist regime’s [Israel] repeated crimes, including the attack on the Iranian embassy’s consulate in Damascus”.

President Biden cut short a trip to Delaware to return to the White House as tensions mounted on Saturday.