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The Biden administration has taken a reserved approach to Israel’s decision to strike back against Iran in response to last weekend’s attack, with US officials staying somewhat distanced from the situation. Israel carried out a limited retaliatory strike near a military airbase in Isfahan, but has not commented on the operation. US officials were aware of Israel’s plans but did not endorse or condemn the counterstrike, emphasizing that the decision was Israel’s alone.

Israel informed the US ahead of the counterstrike through various channels, giving a last-minute heads-up before carrying out the operation. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken declined to comment on the matter, but reiterated the G7 countries’ commitment to Israel’s security and their efforts to de-escalate tensions in the region. He also emphasized the shared commitment to hold Iran accountable for its actions.

Despite President Biden’s counsel for restraint to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, officials inside the White House expected Israel to respond in some way to Iran’s attack. Senior US officials engaged in virtual conversations with top Israeli officials to discuss the situation and efforts to enhance Israeli security. The US applied new sanctions on Iran in response to last weekend’s attack, signaling that retaliation against Iran doesn’t necessarily have to involve military action.

The meetings between US and Israeli officials also touched on plans for a potential ground invasion in Rafah to target Hamas, with the White House expressing concerns about various courses of action. The ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza continues, with negotiations for a ceasefire stalled and a humanitarian crisis worsening. The disagreement over the potential ground invasion indicates that tensions in the region remain high amid the back-and-forth with Iran.

The latest counterstrike by Israel has added to escalating tensions in the Middle East following Iran’s previous strike against Israel, during which over 300 drones and cruise missiles were intercepted. That attack was believed to be in retaliation for a suspected Israeli strike on Iran’s embassy compound in Syria. The situation highlights the complexity of the relationships and conflicts in the region, with various countries and groups involved in ongoing disputes and retaliations.

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