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Israel has carried out airstrikes on Iran, say US officials; add did not 'endorse' or play part in operation

According to reports from US media, officials stated that the United States had been given advance notice of Israel's reported strike on Iran but had not endorsed or participated in its execution.

Israel has carried out airstrikes on Iran, say US officials; add did not 'endorse' or play part in operation snt
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First Published Apr 19, 2024, 11:12 AM IST

US officials on Friday confirmed Israel's involvement in airstrikes targeting Iran, as explosions rocked the skies over Isfahan and Tabriz cities. Despite attempts by the Iranian government to downplay the severity of the attack, reports of drone interceptions over Isfahan province emerged in early hours. Iranian state media showcased live footage of morning traffic in Isfahan city post-sunrise to portray an aura of calmness amidst the situation.

According to reports from US media, officials stated that the United States had been given advance notice of Israel's reported strike on Iran but had not endorsed or participated in its execution. Both NBC and CNN, citing sources familiar with the situation and a US official, confirmed that Israel had provided pre-notification of the strike to Washington.

Several networks cited officials confirming a strike within Iran, with CNN quoting one official clarifying that the target was not a nuclear facility. Additionally, Israel informed the United States on Thursday of its intention to retaliate against Iran in the upcoming days, as relayed by a senior US official to CNN.

"We didn't endorse the response," the official said, according to CNN.

There was no immediate comment from the White House about the Israeli strike.

In response to a query from AFP, the Pentagon duty desk said, "We do not have anything to offer at this time."

Iran activated its air defense system over multiple cities, as reported by state media, following indications from the country's official broadcaster of explosions near the central city of Isfahan.

Also read: Iran says Israeli drones shot down, adds 'no missile attack for now'; nuclear facilities in Isfahan secure

Iran's state media aimed to reassure Iranians on Friday morning, emphasizing that the country did not face a significant threat. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) suggested that the aerial incursions involved mini-drones. A reporter from the Tasnim news agency, closely linked to the IRGC, broadcasted a video at dawn, displaying the time on his watch and asserting the safety of a nuclear site in Isfahan province.

Siavosh Mihandoust, a senior commander in Iran's army, stated on state TV that there was no damage reported in Isfahan.

Officials from the Biden administration disclosed that Israel had informed Washington earlier on Thursday about an impending strike within the next 24 to 48 hours. This warning was conveyed through a virtual session of the US-Israeli Strategic Consultative Group, involving US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Israeli counterpart Tzachi Hanegbi, and Israeli Minister for Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer. CNN reported that the Israelis assured the Americans that Iran's nuclear facilities would not be targeted.

The Israeli strike was a retaliatory measure in response to an Iranian aerial attack, which included approximately 300 missiles and drones, occurring on Sunday morning. This Iranian action was itself retaliation for the bombing of an Iranian consular building in Damascus on April 1. Following the Iranian attack, President Biden had advised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against military retaliation, instead suggesting to "take the win" by successfully intercepting most of the incoming Iranian munitions. Regardless of its scale, Friday morning's strike can be seen as Netanyahu's defiance of US influence.

The primary concern of the US is to prevent the seven-month Gaza conflict from escalating into a broader regional conflict. The US made it clear to Israel that while it supported Israel's defense against Iranian attacks, it would not engage in any form of military retaliation. US officials stressed that they were not involved in Israel's actions overnight.

Before Friday's strike, Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned CNN on Thursday that Iran would respond forcefully if Israel launched another attack.

“If the Israeli regime commits the great error once again our response will be decisive, definitive and regretful for them,” Amir-Abdollahian said. He described Sunday’s aerial attack on Israel as “our minimum response”, but if there was another Israeli strike the Iranian would respond “at a maximum level”.

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