Thu. May 23rd, 2024

Biden officials are worried Iran may plan to hit targets in Israel as payback for attack that killed Iranian general

By 37ci3 Apr5,2024

WASHINGTON – Biden administration officials are concerned that Iran plans to strike targets inside Israel. Several senior Iranian officials were killed in Israeli airstrikes in Syria this weekaccording to two US officials.

Officials said there was any retaliation inside Israel expected to focus on military or intelligence targets rather than civilians. They also said the administration has begun considering options for how to respond to various possible Iranian retaliatory actions.

Iran threatened to take revenge the building was destroyed was the consulate building and therefore an attack on Iran itself.

A top aide to Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi said on Friday that Tehran has sent a warning message to the United States not to get involved in the war between Israel and Iran. “In a written message, the Islamic Republic of Iran warns the US leadership not to fall into Netanyahu’s trap for the US: Stay away so you don’t get hurt.” In response, he wrote that the United States asked Iran not to target American facilities.

A spokesman for the National Security Council said reports that the United States had asked Iran not to target American facilities were “simply wrong” and “Iranian spin.”

“We received a message from Iran after the strike in Damascus. In response, we made it clear that we were not behind the strike. We also warned Iran not to use the strike as a pretext for further escalation in the region or to attack US facilities or personnel,” a senior administration official told NBC News.

On Monday, Israeli warplanes struck a building near the Iranian embassy in Damascus. The blow killed Brig. General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, the senior military commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, which oversees ground operations in Syria and Lebanon, according to Iran. Several others were killed, but U.S. officials have not confirmed who they were, other than to describe them as IRGC officials.

Hours after the strike, the Biden administration contacted Iran directly, assuring Tehran that there was no US involvement and no prior knowledge of the strikes.

Slain Iranian Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi is seen on a billboard in Palestine Square on April 3, 2024 in Tehran.  A motto in Hebrew reads: "You will be punished."
Photo of Brig. General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, who was killed by an Israeli airstrike on a billboard in Tehran’s Palestine Square on Wednesday. “You will be punished” is written in Hebrew.Atta Kenare / AFP – Getty Images

Although the US strongly denies any intervention, US officials are concerned that the retaliatory operation could affect US troops in the region.

The US military this week shot down two unilateral attack drones near the al-Tanf garrison in southern Syria, US defense officials said. They said the drones did not directly target US forces in al-Tanf, but came as close as the military assessed they could pose a threat to the US or Israel.

There have been no attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria for nearly two months. The break came after an attack by Iranian-backed militants in Syria that killed three American servicemen and was met with a series of US retaliatory strikes.

Al-Tanf military outpost in Syria
Al Tanf military outpost in Syria in 2018. Lolita Baldor / AP file

Officials said that the US military is already in a state of high combat readiness in the region.

President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed Iran’s threats to retaliate, the White House said on Thursday. A senior administration official said the US and Israel have been in “regular and ongoing contact” since the call. “The United States fully supports Israel’s defense against threats from Iran. Considering the sensitivity of the subject and information based on intelligence sources, I will not deviate from it,” the official said.

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By 37ci3

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