Iran attacks Israel: Former military advisor weighs in

In this FOX 7 Focus, we follow the news out of the Middle East, where Iran has launched a wave of strikes on Israel.

FOX 7 Austin's John Krinjak spoke with Aaron Pluto, an Austin-based international security and policy expert who has previously served as a military advisor.

JOHN KRINJAK: So first of all, what do we know about these attacks so far? We're talking about drones. And, also it looks like ballistic missiles as well, right?

AARON PLUTO: That's correct. So the IDF has confirmed that Iran has been launching hundreds of drones and missiles directly from its territory into Israel tonight. And this is a radical change from its usual use of proxies. So drones and missiles were also reportedly launched from Yemen and other countries around the region into Israel. And this is, basically, a response after it accused Israel of killing two Revolutionary Guard commanders, around April 1, who had been directing the proxy attacks on Israel from Lebanon and Syria. So this is an important development.

JOHN KRINJAK: And I think a lot of us are wondering, you know, how destructive are these modes of attack? As far as drones, we understand they can take, you know, several hours to arrive at their target and then on the missile side as well. How potentially destructive are these?

AARON PLUTO: So basically these are being used in mass. So the Shaheed 136 is likely one of the drones that is being used, although there could be other types as well. They're relatively slow and loud, but with a payload of somewhere around 440 pounds, somewhere around 500 pounds perhaps, that we've seen, Russia uses these same drones in Ukraine. These are potentially bigger. They can cause quite a bit of damage when used in swarms.

JOHN KRINJAK: Are we talking about the potential for major, major casualties here?

AARON PLUTO: Potentially. We have been, seeing that there are a lot of different countries involved with the protection of Israel, including the US. So they've been doing a very good job in countering these drones. But, I think there are probably a few things at play here. Iran is counting on using a lot of drones and making a statement. However, if just one of these gets through and knocks out an air defense site for Israel, that PR victory is probably what it's wanting to score without really fully escalating this into a larger regional conflict.

JOHN KRINJAK: And you talked about the U.S. and Israel trying to stem these attacks. What does that actually involve? You know, how do you block, or stop, these drones or these missiles?

AARON PLUTO: So you've got the Iron Dome in Israel, which has been successful for some years now. And, along with US support, if you recall, after the October 7 attacks on Israel, there were two carrier groups that were stationed near and around the Persian Gulf and the eastern Mediterranean. So I would anticipate in the coming days that US and Israeli military leaders would come together and look at the most appropriate response here. 


JOHN KRINJAK: So do you think this round of attacks is it, or do you think we could see more in the coming days?

AARON PLUTO: Well, I know that the White House considers this potentially just the first wave. I think a lot will be seen over the next 24, 48 hours. How much destruction was actually caused by this? How much of a win Iran can claim?

JOHN KRINJAK: Do you think this changes Israel at all? What Israel is doing in Gaza, the larger picture of that conflict, and does it change the larger dynamics in the Middle East? Or is it too early to tell?

AARON PLUTO: Well, as I mentioned, this is really a deviation from Iran's normal proxy efforts. This is the first time that Iran has struck out directly from its territory onto its onto Israel's territory. So, I think this has the potential of escalating this quite a bit. I don't think it changes Israel's calculus. Israel has stated that they will be in Gaza until Hamas is removed. Whether that changes anything with support from the West, specifically the United States, will be a decision for military leaders to make in the next few days.