Cardinal Dolan Shelters in Jerusalem Amid Iranian Missile Attacks on Israel

Cardinal Dolan shelters in Jerusalem as Iran launches massive missile and drone attack on Israel, escalating tensions in the region and drawing global condemnation.

Muthana Al-Najjar
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Cardinal Dolan Shelters in Jerusalem Amid Iranian Missile Attacks on Israel

Cardinal Dolan Shelters in Jerusalem Amid Iranian Missile Attacks on Israel

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, took shelter in Jerusalem over the weekend as Iran launched a massive wave of missile and drone attacks against Israel. The attacks, which involved over 300 drones, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles, were largely intercepted by Israel's air defense systems with help from the United States, United Kingdom, Jordan, and other allies.

The Iranian strikes were seen as retaliation for an apparent Israeli attack on Iran's embassy compound in Syria on April 1 that killed 12 people, including two Iranian generals. Despite the scale of the Iranian attack, 99% of the projectiles were successfully intercepted, preventing major casualties or damage. A 7-year-old Israeli girl was severely injured, and a military base sustained slight damage.

Tensions in the region have escalated significantly since the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas began on October 7. The Israeli offensive in Gaza has killed over 33,000 Palestinians and driven a third of Gaza's population to the brink of starvation . World leaders, including the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany, have urged Israel to exercise restraint and called for an immediate ceasefire and the release of individuals held hostage by Hamas.

Why this matters: The Iranian missile attacks on Israel mark a serious escalation in the long-running tensions between the two nations. The involvement of the United States and other world powers in aiding Israel's defense highlights the potential for the conflict to have far-reaching geopolitical implications and impact stability in the Middle East.

Cardinal Dolan, who was in Jerusalem as part of a delegation from the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, met with Israeli officials and families of hostages held by Hamas. He described Israel as a "land of broken hearts" but expressed hope for peace and justice in the region. The cardinal noted that Israeli leaders are being thoughtful and strategic in their response to the attacks .

U.S. President Joe Biden condemned the Iranian strikes and affirmed America's commitment to Israel's security. The Biden administration is preparing new sanctions targeting Iran's missile and drone programs, as well as entities supporting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that rising tensions in the Middle East could cause global economic damage , a concern that will be addressed at the upcoming spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock expressed solidarity with Israel and vowed consequences for Iran while also calling for restraint and increased humanitarian aid for Gaza. Israel's Arrow 3 missile defense system, designed to intercept long-range ballistic missiles, was successfully deployed for the first time during the Iranian attack.

Despite the ongoing hostilities, Christian pilgrims and tourists continued to visit holy sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Franciscan Father Ibrahim Faltas, Vicar of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, expressed fear and despair over the expanding conflict, echoing Pope Francis' appeal for a ceasefire and a return to negotiations to achieve a two-state solution.

Key Takeaways

  • Iran launched massive missile and drone attacks on Israel, largely intercepted.
  • Tensions escalated after Israel-Hamas conflict, with calls for ceasefire and restraint.
  • U.S. and allies aided Israel's defense, preparing new sanctions on Iran's programs.
  • Cardinal Dolan visited Israel, describing it as a "land of broken hearts".
  • Conflict raises concerns about global economic damage and humanitarian crisis in Gaza.