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U.S. officials expect Israeli response to Iran strikes will be limited

U.S. officials expect that a possible Israeli response to the weekend Iranian attack will be limited in scope and most likely involve strikes against Iranian military forces and Iranian-backed proxies outside of Iran, four U.S. officials told NBC News.

The US assessment is based on conversations between US and Israeli officials that took place before Iran fired more than 300 drones and missiles into Israel on Saturday evening.

As Israel prepared for a possible Iranian attack last week, Israeli officials briefed U.S. officials on possible response options, the U.S. officials said.

U.S. officials stressed that they had not been briefed on Israel’s final decision on how it would respond and that options could have changed since the weekend attack. They also said it was unclear when an Israeli response would occur but could come at any time.

President Joe Biden and other leaders called for restraint after Israel vowed to respond to Saturday’s Iranian attack, which was in retaliation for an April 1 Israeli strike on an Iranian consular building in Syria, which killed two of Tehran’s top generals.

Scenarios presented last week for possible retaliation for the consular strike ranged from a modest attack by Iran to a widespread attack that would have resulted in Israeli casualties and destruction of Israeli facilities, the officials said.

Potential Israeli responses ranged from no military action to strikes inside Iran.

Because the Iranian attack did not result in Israeli deaths or mass destruction, U.S. officials said, Israel could respond with one of its less aggressive options: strikes outside Iran.

Options could include strikes inside Syria, three U.S. officials said. Officials do not expect the response to target senior Iranian officials, but rather to strike shipments or storage facilities of advanced missile parts, weapons or components sent from Iran to Hezbollah.

The United States does not intend to participate in the military response, the officials added. They expect Israel to share information about these actions with Washington in advance, particularly if it could have negative repercussions for Americans in the region.

An Israeli official said Monday after an Israeli war cabinet meeting that Israel’s response to the Iranian attack could be “imminent,” noting that decision-makers believed it was important that any response closely follow the ‘attack. The Israeli official said several diplomatic and military options were discussed during the meeting.

Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system is being launched in central Israel to intercept missiles fired from Iran this weekend.Tomer Neuberg / AP

The United States and other allies came to Israel’s aid during the strikes, helping it intercept the vast majority of drones and missiles fired at the country. But in a phone call Saturday, President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the United States would not participate in offensive operations against Iran, a senior administration official said.

A chorus of choirs and diplomats condemned the weekend’s strikes while warning of further escalation in the region.

“I urge all parties to exercise maximum restraint to avoid any action that could lead to major military clashes on multiple fronts in the Middle East,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Sunday. , during a meeting of the Security Council.

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s representative to the UN, told the meeting that Israel “reserves the legal right to retaliate” and that the world “cannot settle for inaction.”

Iran said in a statement from its foreign ministry that the strikes were carried out “in exercise of its inherent right of self-defense.” The statement said Iran “will not hesitate to take further necessary defensive measures” to protect its legitimate interests against any acts of military aggression or illegal use of force.

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With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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