Pastors praying for Israel in response to Iran launching drone, missile attack

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(CP) Prominent Christian leaders worldwide are urgently calling for prayers for peace and security in Israel after Iran initiated a significant aerial assault on Israel, deploying hundreds of drones and missiles early Sunday, intensifying existing regional tensions and pushing the Middle East closer to a broader conflict.

Security officials reported the launches from Iran included over 300 drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, an attack described by Israel's military as potentially escalating to major conflict levels, Reuters reported. Despite the vast number of launches, Israel's advanced defense systems successfully intercepted the majority of these threats, as much as 99%, the Israel Defense Forces said.

From Tehran, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards confirmed the strikes, framing them as retaliation for an April 1 attack on its consulate in Damascus, which resulted in the deaths of two high-ranking officers. While Israel has maintained silence over allegations of its involvement, the incident has stirred considerable international response, with President Joe Biden affirming robust support for Israel.

Prominent religious leaders have voiced their concerns and called for peace.

Pastor Greg Laurie of the Harvest Fellowship in California and Hawaii pointed to the biblical significance of the attacks.

"As American evangelicals, we want our Jewish friends to know that we stand behind the Jewish homeland and her people," Laurie wrote on X. "This attack is on the heels of the horrific attack from Hamas, which is a proxy of Iran on Israel on October 7th."

He added, "We pray that God almighty would protect Israel at this hour and we are to 'Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.' (Psalm 122:6) One of the signs of the end time is an increase in anti-Semitism and the increasing isolation of the state of Israel. we are certainly seeing that happen before our very eyes."

Similarly, Jack Hibbs, a senior pastor, also connected current events with biblical prophecies.

"This could be [the] hook that is set into the jaw of Gog ... that would be Russia. ... And if Russia gets involved, then we could see Ezekiel 38 unfold. ... A lot of great scholars believe that the Rapture could happen before the Ezekiel battle," Hibbs, of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, said in a video post on X, urging his followers to spread the word and pray.

Radio host Fr. Calvin Robinson wrote: "Almighty God, from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed; Kindle, we pray thee, in every heart the true love of peace; and guide with thy pure and peaceable wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth; that in tranquility thy kingdom may go forward, till the earth is filled with the knowledge of thy love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

The Rev. Johnnie Moore, the president of the Congress of Christian Leaders, wrote that Christian congregations worldwide will be dedicating themselves to prayer for the peace and security of Israel. "There will be hundreds of millions of prayers prayed."

The global community was also quick to react. Condemnations rolled in from the United Nations and several countries, highlighting the recklessness of the Iranian regime's action and its potential to spark further escalation.

From Paris, the French government emphasized the attack's risk to regional stability, a sentiment echoed by Britain and Germany.

In a detailed response to the aggression, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari of Israel noted the strategic success of their defense systems, which managed to neutralize most of the threats outside Israel's borders, as reported by the AP. "A wide-scale attack by Iran is a major escalation," Hagari stated during a press briefing. He refrained from outlining potential retaliatory steps but confirmed ongoing defensive measures.

The U.S. has played a pivotal role in the current situation, with Biden directing the movement of aircraft and missile defense systems to the region over the past week. "Thanks to these deployments and the extraordinary skill of our service members, we helped Israel take down nearly all of the incoming drones and missiles," Biden stated.

Further, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed that American forces intercepted numerous missiles and UAVs heading toward Israel, launched not only from Iran but also from locations in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Despite the high interception rate, several missiles breached Israeli defenses, causing minor damage to an air base and injuring a 7-year-old girl in southern Israel. The Israeli military has ramped up its alert status, closing airspace and advising civilians in threatened areas to seek shelter.

Israel and Iran have seen escalating tensions over the past months, particularly with the ongoing conflict involving Hamas in Gaza, which has drawn in various regional players and extended the battlefield across Lebanon, Syria and even as far as Yemen.

Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi said a more severe attack would be launched if Israel or its allies retaliate, the Qatari government-run Al Jazeera reported.

"If the Zionist regime [Israel] or its supporters demonstrate reckless behavior, they will receive a decisive and much stronger response," Raisi said in a statement on Sunday.

Iran's military chief, Major-General Mohammad Bagheri, said the Iranian attack on Israel "has achieved all its goals, and in our view the operation has ended, and we do not intend to continue." He also warned of a "much larger" attack if Israel strikes back at Tehran.

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