Israeli War Cabinet’s Battle Plan Against Iranian Attack

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Israel’s top ministers convened an emergency security cabinet meeting on Tuesday to calibrate their nation’s next moves after Iran launched an unprecedented military strike over the weekend, unleashing a barrage of drones and missiles toward Israeli territory.

The rare strike by Iran, which regarded the assault as retaliation for a deadly April 1 attack on its consulate in Syria, represented a serious escalation of long-simmering hostilities between the two archenemies in the volatile Middle East. It prompted urgent consultations among Israeli leadership and forceful condemnations from the United States and other allies, who nonetheless urged restraint to avoid fueling a broader regional conflagration.

Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, chief of the Israeli military’s general staff, acknowledged in public statements that the Iranian attack, which caused limited damage in Israel, would not go unanswered. But he and others stopped short of telegraphing any specific retaliation, as officials weighed divergent considerations over potential responses that could further inflame geopolitical tensions.

“As we look forward, we weigh our steps,” General Halevi said, “and this launch of so many missiles, cruise missiles, UAVs to the territory of the State of Israel will be met with a response.”

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The security cabinet met into the night on Monday and reconvened on Tuesday morning, Israeli media reported, though officials did not immediately disclose whether the government had settled on a course of action against Iran.

The government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces intense pressures from hard-line factions within his coalition to strike back forcefully against Iran, a nemesis whose nuclear ambitions Israel has long worked to thwart. Mr. Netanyahu has branded Iran’s clerical army, the Revolutionary Guards, as the world’s principal driver of terrorism.

But more moderate voices have cautioned Israel to tread carefully, mindful of the economic reverberations that could stem from a broader escalation destabilizing world energy supplies. There are also concerns about endangering fragile ceasefire negotiations aimed at freeing Israeli civilians held hostage by militants in the Gaza Strip since last fall.

David Petraeus, the former CIA director who commanded U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, said in a BBC interview that Washington hoped to avoid jeopardizing the global economy through any Israeli retaliation that inflamed the confrontation with Iran.

General Petraeus, who is retired, described Tehran’s missile and drone volley against Israel as “a very big deal.” At the same time, he said, “The challenge now, of course, is that there are somewhat different perspectives on what to do next.”

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The former general said there were worries about potential disruptions to freedom of navigation in the Gulf region and a recent incident in which Iran seized an oil tanker. He said the internal debate in Israel centered on “how to formulate a response that would show Israeli deterrence without ratcheting up the escalation any further.”

According to General Petraeus, Israel had “a number of asymmetric options” to respond in a manner that avoided further spiraling tensions.

The United States and other Western allies rallied to support Israel during the weekend crisis, providing intelligence and defensive assistance as the barrages played out. Israel said it managed to shoot down nearly all of the Iranian projectiles before they struck, with no fatalities resulting from the limited damage.

President Biden reaffirmed “America’s ironclad commitment to the security of Israel” in talking with Mr. Netanyahu. But the Biden administration has also signaled discomfort with any Israeli retaliation that could hamper restoring calm and securing the release of Israeli citizens held by Hamas militants in Gaza.

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“We’re committed to a cease-fire that will bring the hostages home and prevent the conflict spreading more than it already has,” Mr. Biden said on Monday, referring to the war between Israel and Hamas.

Britain’s prime minister, Rishi Sunak, appealed for “all sides to show restraint” on Monday while voicing solidarity with Israel. He said he would speak with Mr. Netanyahu about preventing “further escalation” between Israel and Iran.

Tensions between Israel and the Palestinians escalated further this week with the killing of a 14-year-old Israeli boy who disappeared while tending his flock in the occupied West Bank. The Israeli government branded Benjamin Achimeir’s death a “terrorist attack” as the military searched for his killers.

Two Palestinian teenagers were also reported killed on Monday, allegedly by Israeli settlers taking revenge in the West Bank, drawing condemnation from Washington over surging retaliatory violence from both sides.

The rising regional unrest has heightened worries about the potential for any Israeli-Iranian military confrontation to magnify instability and civilian suffering. A path toward resolving the latest flare-up remained uncertain as officials in Israel weighed their next moves.



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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a seasoned basketball journalist with a passion for the WNBA and NBA. His insightful writing combines commentary and stats, providing comprehensive coverage. Alee sheds light on the overlooked WNBA while championing its players. He also delivers in-depth NBA analysis, offering unique perspectives on trades, drafts, and league dynamics. With exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes access, Alee gives readers an unparalleled look into the lives of basketball's biggest stars.

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