NEWS, SPORTS, COMMENTARY, POLITICS for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia

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American Legion: Five Things to Know, April 15

Screenshot 2024-04-15 at 19.21.23
Olivia Gibson/U.S. Air Force)

1.   U.S. forces in the Middle East shot down dozens of missiles and drones over the weekend as Iran launched its first ever attack from its own territory on Israel, senior White House officials said. The Iranian attack involved more than 300 aerial munitions, including 100 ballistic missiles, more than 30 cruise missiles and 150 one-way attack drones, senior administration officials said in a telephone press conference Sunday. The White House believes that 99% of the aerial threats were intercepted and that the attack caused no significant damage, said a senior administration official who was unauthorized to be identified on the record.

2.   Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel early Sunday marked a change in approach for Tehran, which had relied on proxies across the Middle East since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October. All eyes are now on whether Israel chooses to take further military action, while Washington seeks diplomatic measures instead to ease regional tensions. Iran says the attack was in response to an airstrike widely blamed on Israel that destroyed what Iran says were consular offices in Syria and killed two generals with its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard earlier this month.

3.   President Joe Biden is set to host Iraq’s leader this week for talks that come as tensions across the Middle East have soared over the war in Gaza and Iran’s unprecedented weekend attack on Israel in retaliation for an Israeli military strike against an Iranian facility in Syria. The sharp rise in security fears has raised further questions about the viability of the two-decade American military presence in Iraq, through which portions of Iran’s Saturday drone and missile attack on Israel flew or were launched from. A U.S. Patriot battery in Irbil, Iraq, knocked down at least one Iranian ballistic missile, according to American officials.

4.   House Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday he will try to advance wartime aid for Israel this week as he attempts the difficult task of winning House approval for a national security package that also includes funding for Ukraine and allies in Asia. The unprecedented attack by Iran on Israel early Sunday further ratcheted up the pressure on Johnson, but also gave him an opportunity to underscore the urgency of approving the funding.

5.   The Biden administration on Friday reassured the Philippines anew that the U.S. commitment to the country's defense is steadfast amid increasing concerns about provocative Chinese actions in disputed areas of the South China Sea. A day after President Joe Biden convened a trilateral summit involving himself, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the U.S. and Filipino foreign and defense ministers and national security advisers met to discuss strategic and military issues.