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14 Apr, 2024 17:57

Netanyahu called off retaliation strikes after speaking to Biden – NYT

The US president reportedly talked the Israeli prime minister out of military action against Iran
Netanyahu called off retaliation strikes after speaking to Biden – NYT

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a plan to launch immediate retaliatory strikes against Iran after speaking to US President Joe Biden by phone on Saturday night, Israeli officials have told the New York Times.

According to two anonymous officials, Netanyahu’s war cabinet presented him with a list of responses to a massive drone and missile attack by Iran on Saturday evening. While some members of the cabinet reportedly pushed for an immediate military response, Netanyahu ultimately chose not to follow their advice at Biden’s request, the sources said.

The full details of Biden’s conversation with Netanyahu were not revealed by the White House. According to a report on Sunday by Axios, however, Biden told Netanyahu that Israel had essentially prevailed in this clash with Iran and advised him to “take the win.” It was also made clear during the call that any retaliatory action by Israel would not be supported by Washington, the American outlet reported.

Netanyahu’s war cabinet met on Sunday afternoon to discuss Israel’s response to the Iranian attack, while Iran’s top military commander declared that the “Zionist regime” had been adequately “punished,” and that Tehran would not pursue further military action unless Israel struck again.

Iran launched multiple waves of missiles and kamikaze drones at Israel on Saturday, with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stating that at least 300 projectiles were fired. While the IDF claimed to have shot down 99% of the incoming drones and missiles, video footage showed numerous impacts on Israeli soil.

Iranian officials insisted that they had “more success than expected” with the barrage, and claimed that two Israeli bases had been destroyed. The IDF acknowledged only minor damage to one military facility.

The attack came two weeks after an alleged Israeli airstrike hit an Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital of Damascus. The strike killed seven officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, including two high-ranking generals. Tehran telegraphed its response, with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warning for over a week that Israel could expect a “slap in the face.” 

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