U.S. Helps Defend Israel but Refuses to Partake in Offensive Attacks

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(Headline USA) Joe Biden lauded American forces who helped Israel down “nearly all” of the drones and missiles fired by Iran and vowed to coordinate a global response to Tehran’s unprecedented attack.

The Pentagon said U.S. forces intercepted “dozens of missiles” and drones launched from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen that were headed toward Israel.

With regional tensions at their highest since the Israel-Hamas war began six months ago, Biden pledged on Saturday that American support for Israel’s defense against attacks by Iran and its proxies is “ironclad.”

The attack marked the first time Iran has launched a direct military assault on Israel, risking a wider regional conflict.

Biden made clear in a call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the U.S. would not participate in any offensive action against Iran, according to a senior administration official who was not authorized to publicly discuss the private conversation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The U.S. and Israel had been bracing for an attack for days after Iran said it would retaliate for a suspected Israeli strike this month on an Iranian consular building in Syria that killed 12 people, including two senior Iranian generals in the Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in a statement said the U.S. took out dozens of the attacks, but did not provide details on ships or aircraft involved in the operation that commanders had been preparing for over the past two weeks.

“Our forces remain postured to protect U.S. troops and partners in the region, provide further support for Israel’s defense, and enhance regional stability,” Austin said, adding that troops are standing ready to prevent any further conflict.

The U.S., along with its allies, have sent direct messages to Tehran to warn against further escalating the conflict.

During the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, there have been near-daily exchanges of fire between Israeli forces and the Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group along the Israel-Lebanon border. U.S. officials have recorded more than 150 attacks by Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria on U.S. forces at bases in those countries since war started on Oct. 7.

One attack in late January killed three U.S. service members in Jordan. In retaliation, the U.S. launched a massive air assault, hitting more than 85 targets at seven locations in Iraq and Syria.

Meantime, on Saturday, commandos from Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard rappelled from a helicopter onto an Israeli-affiliated container ship near the Strait of Hormuz and seized the vessel.

Watson, the NSC spokesperson, said the U.S. strongly condemned the seizure and urged Iran to release the ship and crew immediately.

“We will work with our partners to hold Iran to account for its actions,” she said.

Also Saturday, the West Bank also saw some of the worst violence since Hamas’ attack on Israel

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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