Israeli War Cabinet Convenes Again: Response Plan to Iran’s Attack Under Review

Israeli War Cabinet Convenes Again: Response Plan to Iran's Attack Under Review
War cabinet said to favor hitting back at Iran but divided over when and how | The Times of Israel

Israeli War Cabinet Convenes Again: Response Plan to Iran’s Attack 

The war cabinet of Israel convened for the third consecutive day on Tuesday to deliberate on how to respond to Iran’s unprecedented direct assault. International pressure mounted, urging caution to prevent further escalation in the volatile Middle East.

Military Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi pledged a response to Saturday night’s barrage of over 300 missiles, cruise missiles, and drones from Iran into Israeli territory. However, the specifics of the retaliation were not disclosed.

While the attack caused minimal casualties and damage, thanks to Israel’s robust air defenses and countermeasures, concerns escalated over the widening scope of conflict beyond the Gaza war. There were apprehensions of a full-scale war between the perennial adversaries.

Iran retaliated for an airstrike on its embassy compound in Damascus attributed to Israel on April 1 but signaled a reluctance for further escalation.

President Joe Biden assured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the United States, Israel’s key ally, would not join in any Israeli counter-offensive. Instead, alongside its European allies, Washington focused on intensifying economic and political sanctions to dissuade Israel from resorting to violence.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz spearheaded a diplomatic initiative, reaching out to 32 countries to advocate for sanctions on Iran’s missile program and endorsing Washington’s designation of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen emphasized the United States’ commitment to using sanctions and collaborating with allies to disrupt Iran’s destabilizing activities.

The European Union foreign ministers convened a virtual meeting to address the escalating tensions in the Middle East. Several EU members pledged to reconsider extending sanctions against Iran, reflecting a unified stance to prevent further escalation.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak disclosed that the Group of Seven (G7) democracies were coordinating measures against Iran, with Italy holding the G7 presidency, suggesting targeted sanctions on individuals.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani warned of swift retaliation to any Israeli counterattack, emphasizing Iran’s readiness to respond within seconds.

The prospect of Israeli retaliation stirred anxiety among Iranians, who are already grappling with economic hardships and heightened social and political restrictions since protests in 2022–23.

Since the onset of the Gaza war, skirmishes have erupted between Israel and Iran-aligned groups in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq. Israel reported injuries to four soldiers within Lebanese territory, marking the first known Israeli ground incursion into Lebanon since the Gaza conflict began.

The White House refrained from urging restraint on Israel’s part, emphasizing Israel’s autonomy in determining its response to Iran’s aggression.

The Biden administration appeared hesitant to impose stricter sanctions on Iran’s oil exports due to concerns about inflating oil prices and antagonizing China, a significant importer of Iranian oil.

China reassured Iran of its support in managing the situation while cautioning against further regional turmoil.

Russia, an ally of Iran, avoided public criticism but cautioned against escalating tensions further.

Iran’s attack elicited praise in Gaza, where Hamas, the Iranian-backed militant group, governs. Israel initiated its offensive against Hamas after a Hamas attack in October resulted in casualties and hostages, according to Israeli accounts.

The airline industry responded to the escalating tensions by canceling or rerouting flights, with European aviation authorities advising caution when traversing Israeli and Iranian airspace.


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