Israel's allies warn of retaliation after Iran attack

Israel's allies on Monday strongly urged Israel not to retaliate against Iran over the weekend's missile and drone attack, instead calling for an easing of tensions that have gripped the Middle East.

The Iranian air assault – itself a retaliation for an attack that killed Iranian commanders in Syria – was the first time Tehran launched open attacks on Israel from its own territory. While some far-right members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government called for a strong response, the United States, the Group of 7, the European Union and the United Nations secretary general were among those advising restraint.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken stressed the need to prevent further escalation in a flurry of phone calls Sunday with his counterparts in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Britain and Germany, according to State Department statements .

Other allies of Israel joined the chorus on Monday. The British Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, called the Iranian attack – which involved hundreds of missiles and drones, almost all of which were intercepted – “reckless and dangerous”, but a “total failure”.

“We ask that there is no escalation,” Cameron told Sky News, referring to Israel. “This is the time to think with your head as well as your heart. Being intelligent and tenacious at the same time.”

French President Emmanuel Macron also urged Israel to avoid a military escalation. He told French media on Monday that France would work with allies to continue to isolate Tehran by “increasing sanctions, increasing pressure on nuclear activities and then finding a path to peace in the region.”

Iranian officials signaled on Sunday that they were trying to prevent further escalation and that Iran's retaliation would end unless Israel retaliated. Israel's war cabinet met Sunday evening without deciding how to respond to the Iranian assault, an official briefed on the meeting said. The cabinet was due to meet again on Monday afternoon, Israeli media reported.

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