Pentagon upset Israel struck Iran site in Syria without US notice

In World
April 12, 2024



ANKARA:

Senior Pentagon officials were frustrated as Israel did not notify the US before conducting a strike on an Iranian diplomatic mission in the Syrian capital of Damascus earlier this month, an escalation that they assess increases risks to American forces in the Middle East, The Washington Post reported on Friday, citing US officials.

Tensions between Israel and Iran rose further on Wednesday when Tehran vowed revenge for an Israeli air force attack, which killed two senior commanders from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an organization with a long history of supporting violent attacks against Israel and the United States.

Three US officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Washington Post that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other senior defence officials believed Israel should have informed them ahead of time because of the strike’s implications for US troops and interests in the region.

US and Israeli officials are closely coordinating how they may respond to an Iranian counterstrike, officials said, with a top American general visiting Israel on Thursday.

During a call on April 3, Austin complained directly to his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant, one of the US officials said. A Pentagon readout of the conversation did not disclose that detail, saying only that Austin “reiterated US support for Israel’s defence against a range of regional threats.”

The Israeli Embassy in Washington did not immediately provide comment on the exchange, according to the US daily.

Read also: Israel completed preparations for potential war with Iran, says defence minister

Israel is on high alert amid fears of a possible Iranian attack in retaliation for an alleged Israeli strike on the Iranian Consulate in Damascus on April 1, according to Israeli media.

At least seven members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed in the attack, including two top generals.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz threatened Wednesday that his country’s military would strike Iran directly if Tehran launched an attack from its territory against Israel.

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 the Palestinian group Hamas, which killed around 1,200 people.

More than 33,600 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have since been killed in Gaza and over 76,000 injured amid mass destruction and displacement.

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