Biden promises Israel of ‘ironclad’ support


The President’s promise comes despite his public criticism of Netanyahu over the toll on civilians in Israel’s campaign against Hamas…reports Asian Lite News

President Joe Biden has promised “ironclad” support for Israel as Iran threatens reprisals over a strike that leveled an Iranian consulate building in Damascus and killed two generals.

Biden’s promise comes despite his public criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the toll on civilians in Israel’s campaign against Hamas, especially after a strike killed seven aid workers.

Iran is “threatening to launch a significant attack on Israel,” Biden told a news conference.

“As I told Prime Minister Netanyahu, our commitment to Israel’s security against these threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad,” Biden said.

“Let me say it again — ironclad. We’re going to do all we can to protect Israel’s security,” said Biden, who was speaking next to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

US officials have voiced alarm over the prospect of an imminent strike against Israeli interests after Israel on April 1 destroyed the consulate building, killing seven members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards including two generals.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned in a speech Wednesday that the “evil regime” of Israel “must be punished and will be punished.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz swiftly riposted, in a Persian-language statement on social media site X, “If Iran attacks from its territory, Israel will respond and attack Iran.”

Iran’s clerical state supports Hamas, which on October 7 launched the deadliest attack against Israel in the country’s history, triggering a relentless six-month Israeli military operation inside the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

The United States since the start of the war has sought to prevent it from spreading including to Lebanon, where Iran supports the Shiite militant movement Hezbollah.

The United States has been tightlipped in its public reaction to the April 1 strike, saying it has not determined whether Israel struck a diplomatic facility, which would violate international agreements on the inviolability of embassies and consulates.

US predicts attack by Iran against Israel

The United States expects an attack by Iran against Israel but one that would not be big enough to draw Washington into war, a US official said late on Thursday.

The White House said earlier Washington did not want conflict to spread in the Middle East and the US had told Iran it was not involved in an air strike against a top Iranian military commander in Damascus.

The White House added it warned Iran to not use that attack as a pretext to escalate further in the region.

Suspected Israeli warplanes bombed Iran’s embassy in Damascus on Monday in a strike for which Iran has vowed revenge and in which a top Iranian general and six other Iranian military officers were killed, ratcheting up tension in a region already strained by the Gaza war.

Iranian sources said Tehran has signalled to Washington that it will respond to Israel’s attack on its Syrian embassy in a way that aims to avoid major escalation and it will not act hastily, as Tehran presses demands including a Gaza truce.

The United States has been on high alert about possible retaliatory strikes from Iran and US envoys have been working to lower tensions.

Palestinian group Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200, according to Israeli tallies. Israel’s military assault on Hamas-governed Gaza has since killed over 33,000 according to the local health ministry, displaced nearly all of Gaza’s 2.3 million population, caused a humanitarian crisis and led to genocide allegations that Israeli denies.

Iran-backed groups have declared support for Palestinians, waging attacks from Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq. Tehran has avoided direct confrontation with Israel or the United States, while declaring support for its allies.

Top general visits Israel

The top US commander for the Middle East is in Israel for talks with the country’s military officials on security threats, the Pentagon said Thursday.

The visit comes amid fears that Iran will retaliate after an Israeli strike that killed seven members of Tehran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, including two generals, in Syria earlier this month.

General Erik Kurilla is in Israel “to meet with key IDF leadership… (and) discuss the current security threats in the region,” Pentagon spokesman Major General Pat Ryder told journalists.

Ryder said the trip was moved up from a previously scheduled date “due to recent developments.”

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned Wednesday that Israel “must be punished and will be punished,” while US President Joe Biden pledged “ironclad” support for its top regional ally.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin meanwhile spoke Thursday with his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant, who told the Pentagon chief that a “direct Iranian attack will require an appropriate Israeli response against Iran.”

The two “discussed readiness for an Iranian attack against the state of Israel,” the country’s defense ministry said in a statement, adding that Gallant “emphasized that the state of Israel will not tolerate an Iranian attack on its territory.”

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