US will not take part in any Israeli retaliatory action against Iran

By James Mackenzie, Parisa Hafezi and Jeff Mason

President Joe Biden warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the U.S. will not take part in a counter-offensive against Iran, an option Netanyahu’s war cabinet favors after a mass drone and missile attack on Israeli territory, according to officials.

The threat of open warfare erupting between the arch Middle East foes and dragging in the United States put the region on edge, triggering calls for restraint from global powers and Arab nations to avoid further escalation.

“The Middle East is on the brink. The people of the region are confronting a real danger of a devastating full-scale conflict. Now is the time to defuse and de-escalate,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a Security Council meeting called on Sunday in response to the strikes.

Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Robert Wood called on the council to unequivocally condemn Iran’s attack, as he said Washington would explore additional, unspecified measures at the United Nations to hold Iran accountable and warned against further aggression.

“Let me be clear: if Iran or its proxies take actions against the United States or further action against Israel, Iran will be held responsible,” he said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that while the United States does not seek escalation, it will continue to take all necessary action to defend Israel and U.S. personnel, a Pentagon spokesperson said.

Israeli officials said Netanyahu’s five-member war cabinet favored retaliation in a meeting on Sunday, although the panel was divided over the timing and scale of any such response.

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