First Minister Humza Yousaf has called for "a political and diplomatic solution" in the Middle East after Iran launched an unprecedented military strike on Israel.

Around 300 drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles were launched on Saturday night, with almost all of them intercepted by the Iron Dome defence system, in retaliation for a strike on the Iranian embassy in Lebanon.

It marks the first time a direct military attack has been launched by Tehran on Israel despite enmity dating back to the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The First Minister expressed his condemnation for the action, as he called for de-escalation.

Mr Yousaf said on Sky News: "I condemn Iran's actions, just as I've condemned all and every regional escalation.

"That's why for six months I've consistently been calling for an immediate ceasefire, there is not going to be a military solution to the conflict that we see in the Middle East, only a political and diplomatic solution.

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"Violence begets violence, therefore it's imperative now that the international community demand – not request, but demand – that all parties abide by UN security resolutions, such as a call for an immediate ceasefire (in Gaza).

 “We can’t afford to see any more loss of life, because innocent civilians have already had to pay far too high a price for the actions of a number of countries and therefore we need to see de-escalation as opposed to further escalation in the region.”

Former SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said on social media: "Iran must be universally condemned for the attack on Israel and the right of self defence of Israel clearly stands. That being said the need for leadership around the world and a desire for deescalation needs to be heard loud and clear in Israel, Iran and elsewhere.

"There should be no march to a wider regional conflict. As part of this we need to establish a ceasefire in Gaza, see a return of the hostages and a pathway to a sustainable peace anchored around a two state solution that offers security to all in the region."

The Herald:

RAF jets shot down “a number of” Iranian drones, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said as he warned the fallout would have been “hard to overstate” if missiles launched in Tehran’s unprecedented attack on Israel were not largely intercepted.

The Prime Minister called for “calm heads to prevail” ahead of a meeting of G7 leaders amid fears of further escalation in the event of a possible Israeli counter-strike.

Speaking to journalists in Downing Street, Mr Sunak confirmed RAF warplanes based in Syria and Iraq had been deployed to protect Israel, adding that lives had been saved “in neighbouring countries such as Jordan as well”.

He said: “I can confirm that our planes did shoot down a number of Iranian attack drones. I want to pay tribute to the bravery and professionalism of our pilots flying into the face of danger to protect civilians.”

Mr Sunak added: “If this attack had been successful the fallout for regional stability would be hard to overstate and we stand by the security of Israel and the wider region, which is of course important for our security here at home.”

Israel said Iran launched 170 drones, more than 30 cruise missiles and at least 120 ballistic missiles early on Sunday in an attack that set off air raid sirens across the country.

The development threatens to spiral into a wider regional conflict following years of shadow wars fought between the two foes, as the war in Gaza inflames decades-old tensions in the Middle East.

The Herald: President Joe Biden, third from right, meets with members of the National Security team regarding the unfolding missile attacks on Israel from IranPresident Joe Biden, third from right, meets with members of the National Security team regarding the unfolding missile attacks on Israel from Iran (Image: Adam Schultz/The White House)

Britain and the US have offered staunch support for Israel, although Tehran has threatened a “heavier” response if Washington cooperates in any further military action.

Israeli military spokesman rear admiral Daniel Hagari said 99% of more than 300 drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles had been shot down outside the country’s borders, with aircraft intercepting more than 10 cruise missiles.

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

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French foreign minister Stephane Sejourne and German foreign minister Annlena Baerbock joined a growing chorus of western leaders urging against escalation.

US President Joe Biden said he would convene a meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) advanced democracies on Sunday “to co-ordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack”.

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

A top US official said the US had informed Israel it did not plan on striking Iran itself.