Iranian Attack: Israel On High Alert, Weighs Options

  • As War cabinet signals coalition response
  • US rule out counter-offensive against Tehran

Israel said on Sunday night that the country is seriously weighing its response to Iran’s unprecedented missile and drone assault on its territory, signalling that it would not immediately act alone.

However, the Israeli authorities insist its forces remained on high alert and the leadership has already approved both “offensive and defensive action”.

Two members of Israel’s three-man war cabinet made statements suggesting they were taking a longer-term view of the response to Iran’s first ever direct attack on Israeli soil.

For now, Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has not declared a formal decision as of late on Sunday.

On his part, the Israeli Defence Minister, Yoav Gallant, said the successful interception against the attack by the country’s Air Force and several allies was an opportunity for a new “strategic alliance” against Iran.

Gallant’s remarks followed a statement from Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s wartime unity government, who said: “[Israel] will build a regional coalition and exact the price from Iran in the fashion and timing that is right for us.”

Meanwhile, Chief Military spokesperson for the Israeli Military, Real Admiral Daniel Hagari made clear later in the day that Israel was keeping its options open, saying; “Over the last few hours we approved operational plans for both offensive and defensive action”.

This is United States (US) officials said the Iranian salvo, which included over 100 ballistic missiles, could have been catastrophically destructive had they not been intercepted, and would have made a regional war much more likely.

Reports indicate that President Joe Biden and his officials have sought to convince Netanyahu and his cabinet that the success of Israel’s missile defences, aided by the US, United Kingdom and other allies, in blocking the attack represented victory in itself, demonstrating the unquestionable military superiority of Israel and its allies, and that a counterattack against Iran would be strategically unwise.

Biden first raised intelligence about the planned Iranian attack on a call on 4th April 2024, which was also focused on the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza, US officials said.

In the following ten days, the US and its allies prepared a coordinated plan of defence, and the US brought more planes and ships to the region.

Once the attack had subsided on Sunday morning, President Biden emphasised the success of their joint action in a call to Netanyahu but made clear that the US would not take part in any counter offensive against Iranian territory.

“We are committed to defending Israel. We would not be a part of any response they do. This is a very consistent policy,” a senior administration official said, adding; “Our aim is to deescalate regional tensions. We do not want a broader regional conflict. Our focus has been to contain this crisis”.

The official said Washington had been hearing reassuring noises from the Israeli leadership. “Israel has made clear to us they’re not looking for a significant escalation with Iran,” the official said.

He further said; “That’s not what they’re looking for. They’re looking to protect themselves and defend themselves”.

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