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Biden Says Iran’s Attack On Israel Will Happen ‘Sooner Rather Than Later’

Joe Biden with Benjamin Netanyahu
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden attends a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as he visits Israel amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Tel Aviv. (Evelyn Hockstein/REUTERS)

President Biden has issued a statement stating that the US remained “devoted to the defence of Israel,” and that he expected an Iranian attack “sooner rather than later.”

“We are devoted to the defence of Israel. We will support Israel. We will help defend Israel and Iran will not succeed,” Biden told reporters on Friday. The President had a one-word message for Tehran. “Don’t.”

Despite the president’s words, US intelligence officials have predicted that an attack from Iran is imminent and that it is only a matter of when. The attack comes as Iran has vowed revenge for an attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus which it blames on Israel. Seven Iranian members of the Revolutionary Guard out of a total of 16 people were killed in the air strike on April 1.

Biden’s remarks come after a televised speech by Iran’s leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, saying the attack in Damascus was equivalent to an attack on Iran itself. “When they attacked our consulate area, it was like they attacked our territory,” he said. “The evil regime must be punished, and it will be punished.”

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US officials are believed to be working round-the-clock to prevent this. NSA Jake Sullivan and its Middle East adviser Brett McGurk are said to have dialled foreign ministers in Middle East nations to ask them to prevent Iran from retaliating.  According to a Bloomberg report, Iran is also believed to have been approached indirectly through an established Swiss channel.

US CENTCOM chief Gen. Michael Kurilla arrived in Israel on Thursday morning to hold an assessment with IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi. This came as Iran’s foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, said on Thursday that Iran felt it had no choice but to respond to the deadly attack on its diplomatic mission after the UN Security Council failed to take action.

Many nations have issued travel advisories to its nationals to not travel to the Middle East while international airlines such as Lufthansa have suspended flights that travel over Iranian airspace till April 18. Social media posts stating that Iran had itself suspended its airspace on Thursday night had also raised fear of an imminent attack before they were found to be false. But this has only raised tensions.

(With Reuters inputs)