Iran attacks Israel: Seymour Johnson Air Force Base units helped shoot down dozens of missiles

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Monday, April 15, 2024
NC units shot down dozens of Iranian missiles headed for Israel
North Carolina political experts worry a broader conflict between Israel and Iran could have major implications for North Carolina-based troops.

GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- On Monday, North Carolina's local ties to the escalating conflict in Israel came into clearer focus.

The Pentagon confirmed that units from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro were among the jets that helped shoot down dozens of Iranian missiles launched towards Israel in that attack over the weekend.

Local international political experts said a broader conflict in the region could have major implications for North Carolina-based troops -- and that there's growing concern about such a conflict.

"There's no appetite in the United States for further war, new war," said Dr. Jeffrey Martinson, a professor of International Politics at Meredith College.

While 99% of the missiles launched by Iran on Saturday were ultimately intercepted, Martinson said Israel's recent attack on the Iranian embassy in Damascus -- and longstanding resentment between the two countries -- could lead to further retaliation.

"In Iran and Israel, there's sort of this machismo bravado kind of aspect to the leadership in both countries, such that not responding would be seen as a sign of weakness," he said.

SEE ALSO | Why Iran attacked Israel and what comes next

Josh Einiger is live in Jerusalem as Israel weighs its next steps following Iran's retaliatory attack.

In a briefing, the Pentagon confirmed that jets from the 335th fighter squadron at Seymour Johnson AFB helped take down some of those Iranian drones. Congressman Wiley Nickel's district covers the base.

"It's no surprise that the brave fighters and the crew behind those planes are doing amazing work to protect and defend Israel," said Nickel on Monday.

But Nickel conceded that concern remains high on Capitol Hill as the prospect of a broader conflict looms. He urged the House to take up and pass the bipartisan aid package passed by the Senate in February, which ties aid to Israel with funding for Ukraine and Taiwan.

"The world is watching what we do here in Congress this week," Nickel said. "And we need to send a message loud and clear that we stand with Israel as they defend themselves."

ABC11 also reached out to Senator Ted Budd, who declined an on-camera interview but thanked members of the 335th Fighter Squadron from Seymour Johnson for their bravery over the weekend.