(Bloomberg) -- Israel and its allies won plaudits for mostly fending off Iran’s unprecedented attack on Saturday night.

But the operation, lasting no more than several hours, came with a steep price tag, and points to the sheer expense of air defense as nations such as Iran improve their drone and missile capabilities.

The efforts of Israel and the American, British, French and Jordanian militaries probably cost in the region of $1.1 billion, according to Reem Aminoach, a former brigadier general and chief financial adviser to the head of the Israeli military.

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“That is the estimated cost of thwarting an attack of this scope,” he said to Bloomberg. Aminoach, who was also a board member at Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd., one of the country’s main defense companies, cited calculations he’d done for the number of interceptor missiles Israel would have had to fire.

Israel was responsible for as much as two-thirds of the interceptions, while its allies did the rest, Zvika Haimovich, a former commander of Israel’s Air Defense Forces, told journalists on Wednesday.

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The Israeli military said Iran launched about 170 drones, 30 cruise missiles and 120 ballistic missiles. Only the latter penetrated Israeli airspace and in “very small numbers,” according to the military. The drones and cruise missiles were all intercepted before they got to Israel.

The operation involved coordination between Israel and its allies’ network of radar sites, missile-interceptor launchers, warships, and air bases across the Middle East.

The US said it destroyed more than 80 drones and at least six ballistic missiles fired from Iran and Yemen, where the Houthis — a militant group funded by Tehran — are based.

Some of the defensive missiles the US has are $2 million apiece and, in cases, two or three are fired at each incoming target to increase the chances of it being shot down, James Stavridis, a retired US Navy admiral, said in a Bloomberg column. Israel’s costliest interceptors, known as Arrow 3, cost around $3 million each.

--With assistance from Henry Meyer.

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