Israel considered a retaliatory strike on Iran: Reports

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Israel considered carrying out a strike on Iran in retaliation for last weekend’s unprecedented attack but then aborted the plan, according to Israeli and US media reports.

Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles against Israel over the weekend in an attack that caused little damage after most of the projectiles were intercepted.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to respond to the attack, prompting global powers, including main ally the United States, to call for restraint to avoid any further escalation or regional spillover from the months-long war in Gaza.

Israeli public broadcaster Kan reported that following discussions with US President Joe Biden, Netanyahu decided not to proceed with pre-arranged plans for retaliatory strikes on Iran in the event of an attack.

“Diplomatic sensitivities came into play,” a senior Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity told Kan, adding that there would be a response, but that it would be different from what was initially planned.

Citing three unnamed Israeli sources, ABC News reported: “Israel prepared for and then aborted retaliatory strikes against Iran on at least two nights this past week.”

Among the range of possible reactions considered by the Israeli war cabinet were options to attack Iranian proxies elsewhere in the region or to conduct a cyberattack, the sources told ABC.

At a cabinet meeting on Monday, Israeli officials considered giving the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) permission for a strike against Iran, but “for operational reasons” decided not to go ahead with it, two unnamed Israeli officials told US news outlet Axios.

Iran-backed armed groups across the region have carried out attacks since the Israel-Hamas war broke out in Octo-ber.

Tehran’s weekend onslaught, its first direct assault on Israeli soil, came in response to a deadly strike on Iran’s consular annex in Damascus on April 1 that was widely blamed on Israel.

Washington and Brussels have pledged to ramp up sanctions against Iran, while Iran’s president has warned of “a fierce and severe response” to any retaliation.

In response to the diplomatic pressure, including from main military backer Washington, Netanyahu on Wednes-day insisted Israel will make its own decisions, and “do what it needs to defend itself”.

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