REGIONAL tensions remain high, amid fears of further escalation in the event of a possible Israeli counter-strike after an attack by Iran.

Iran launched the attack in response to a strike widely blamed on Israel on an Iranian consular building in Syria earlier this month which killed two Iranian generals.

Israel said it and its allies intercepted 99% of the more than 300 drones and missiles launched towards its territory.

Iranian chief of staff Mohammad Bagheri has said the operation “reached all its goals” and no further operations are planned if Israel does not respond. If it does, Iran vowed to launch a "larger" attack.

US President Joe Biden said he would convene a meeting of the Group of Seven advanced democracies on Sunday “to co-ordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack”.

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The language indicated that the Biden administration does not want Iran’s assault to spiral into a broader military conflict.

Israel said Iran launched 170 drones, more than 30 cruise missiles and more than 120 ballistic missiles early on Sunday. The two nations have for years been engaged in a shadow war marked by incidents such as the Damascus strike.

But Sunday’s assault, which set off air raid sirens across Israel, marked the first time Iran has launched a direct military assault on Israel, despite decades of enmity dating back to the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Israel has over the years established – often with the help of the United States – a multilayered air defence network that includes systems capable of intercepting a variety of threats including long-range missiles, cruise missiles, drones and short-range rockets.

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That system, along with collaboration with US and other forces, helped thwart what could have been a far more devastating assault at a time when Israel is already bogged down in its war against Hamas in Gaza and engaged in low-level fighting on its northern border with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia.

Both Hamas and Hezbollah are backed by Iran.

Israeli and US officials lauded the response to the aerial assault.

“Iran launched more than 300 threats and 99% were intercepted,” said Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military spokesman.

“That is a success.”

Asked if Israel would respond, Rear Admiral Hagari said the country would do what was needed to protect its citizens.

Rescuers said a seven-year-old girl was seriously wounded in southern Israel, apparently in a missile strike, though they said police were still investigating the circumstances of her injuries.

In Washington, Biden said US forces helped Israel down “nearly all” the drones and missiles and pledged to convene allies to develop a unified response.

Biden, who had cut short a weekend stay at his Delaware beach house to meet with his national security team at the White House on Saturday afternoon, spoke to Netanyahu later in the day.

“I told him that Israel demonstrated a remarkable capacity to defend against and defeat even unprecedented attacks – sending a clear message to its foes that they cannot effectively threaten the security of Israel,” Biden said.

A senior White House official has reported that the US president also told the Israeli prime minister that the US will not support any Israeli counterattack against Iran.

In a statement on Sunday, secretary of state Antony Blinken said the US does “not seek escalation”, and would hold talks with its allies in the coming days.

The US, along with its allies, has sent direct messages to Tehran to warn against further escalating the conflict.

In a statement carried late on Saturday by Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency, the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard acknowledged launching “dozens of drones and missiles towards the occupied territories and positions of the Zionist regime”.

In a later statement, the Revolutionary Guard issued a direct warning to the US: “The terrorist US government is warned any support or participation in harming Iran’s interests will be followed by decisive and regretting response by Iran’s armed forces.”

Iran had vowed revenge since the April 1 air strike in Syria, for which Tehran held Israel responsible.

Israel has not commented on it.