Israel delays response on Iran's offensive for the second time: Axios

Ahram Online , Thursday 18 Apr 2024

Israel considered conducting a retaliatory strike against Iran on Monday night but eventually decided to postpone it, five Israeli and American sources told Axios.

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File photo- Israel s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) during a War Cabinet meeting at the Kirya in Tel Aviv. AFP

 

The Israeli war cabinet on Monday considered giving the Israeli army the go-ahead for a strike against Iran. But later that night, a decision was made not to go through with it "for operational reasons," according to two Israeli officials.

"We are not sure why and how close it was to an actual attack," a US official said. A second US official confirmed Israel told the Joe Biden administration on Monday that it decided to wait.

This is the second time that a decision on Israel's retaliation has been postponed since Saturday, according to Axios.

Israeli public broadcaster Kan said on Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after discussions with US President Joe Biden, decided not to proceed with pre-arranged plans for retaliatory strikes on Iran.

"Diplomatic sensitivities came into play," a senior Israeli official told Kan, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Adding to this uncertainty, ABC News on Thursday cited a senior US official suggesting that Tel Aviv is unlikely to attack Iran until after the major Jewish holiday of Passover ends on 30 April.

Israeli officials have confirmed that the decision to respond to the Iranian retaliatory attack has been made and that the only question is when and how, while reports indicate differences in positions of Israel's war cabinet members on a counterattack. 

De-escalation calls

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a group of American Jewish leaders on Tuesday that further escalation with Iran is not in the interest of either the US or Israel, media reports revealed.

The United States does not want to see an escalation of the crisis in the Middle East, National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby said on Sunday.

Axios said that Biden had told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he would oppose an Israeli counterattack against Iran as Washington is concerned that continued counterattacks could trigger wider regional escalation.

Brushing off calls for restraint from close allies, Netanyahu said only Israel would decide whether and how to respond to Iran’s major air offensive earlier this week.

Nuclear threat

Iran could review its "nuclear doctrine," says a senior Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps commander, according to state media agency Tasnim.

Tehran has always said its nuclear programme was strictly for peaceful purposes. 

The remark comes after senior ex-Mossad official Zohar Palti told Sky News that striking Iran's nuclear facilities was on the table of options being considered by Israel.

However, Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who is in New York to attend a UN Security Council meeting, said his country has "tried to tell the United States clearly" that Iran is "not looking for the expansion of tension in the region," he said in a video posted by his ministry.

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