US rules out joining Israeli attack on Iran

The United States said Sunday it will not join any Israeli counterattack on Iran, with President Joe Biden warning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to "think carefully" about any escalation.

The White House said Biden did not want a wider war after helping key ally Israel repel a massive aerial attack by Tehran — itself in retaliation for a presumed Israeli strike that killed an Iranian general in Damascus.

"We're not looking for a wider war with Iran," White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on NBC's "Meet the Press," adding that the United States does not "want to see this escalate."

Kirby said Netanyahu was "well aware" of Biden's feelings after the two leaders spoke on Saturday while Iran's unprecedented attack was still unfolding.

The assault saw Iran fire more than 300 drones and missiles towards Israel late Saturday, injuring 12 people, the Israeli army said.

U.S. officials said American warplanes had brought down around 70 drones while U.S. ships downed between four and six ballistic missiles.

But a senior Biden administration official confirmed that Biden had told Netanyahu that Washington would not offer military support for any retaliation on Iran.

"We would not be a part of any response they do," the official told reporters on a call, speaking on condition of anonymity. "We would not envision ourselves participating in such an act."

Washington — which is Israel's biggest military supplier and has also been pressing for an end to the conflict in Gaza — was also trying to guide it away from further escalation.

"A big question is not only whether, but what Israel might choose to do, and so this is a decision for them," the Biden administration official said.


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