Iranian threat to Israel ‘very credible,’ US says

In World
April 12, 2024



WASHINGTON:

Iran’s threat to carry out a retaliatory attack on Israel in reprisal for the bombing of its consulate in Damascus, Syria are “very credible,” the White House said Friday.

“We still deem the potential threat by Iran here to be real, to be viable, certainly credible, and we’re watching it as closely as we can,” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters during a virtual briefing.

“Our focus is on having conversations with our Israeli counterparts, and making sure, not just conversations, but making sure that they have what they need, and that they’re able to defend themselves,” he added.

Israel is on high alert amid Iran’s public vow to attack Israeli targets in retaliation for the April 1 airstrike on its diplomatic facility in the Syrian capital. The strike killed at least seven members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including two top generals.

Read also: Pentagon frustrated as Israel did not notify US over strike on Iranian site in Syria: Report

Iran has accused Israel of carrying out the attack and vowed to respond. Israel, however, has not officially claimed responsibility for the attack, but it has for months carried out a number of strikes against Iranian targets across Syria.

Both Iran and Hezbollah, its main ally in Lebanon, have said that the attack will not go unpunished.

Kirby maintained that the US will “will take seriously our commitments to the defence, the self-defence of Israel.” He confirmed that the US has adjusted its force posture in the region ahead of the expected Iranian attack, but declined to provide specifics.

“It would be imprudent and irresponsible if we weren’t also taking a look at our own force posture, and making sure you know that, as always, we’re doing everything we can to protect our people and our facilities,” he added.

Read: Iran vows revenge on Israel after Damascus embassy attack

The escalation comes as Israel continues to wage a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack in early October by Hamas, which killed about 1,200 people.

More than 33,600 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, and over 75,800 injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

The Biden administration has been pushing Israel to ease its restrictions on the distribution of humanitarian assistance in the Gaza Strip where famine is already setting in, according to international observers.

Kirby said that the administration has noted a significant increase in the number of trucks that have been entering the besieged coastal enclave, but said it is “more significant and more important” for the goods the trucks are transporting to get “into the bellies of the people that so desperately need it.”

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