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Biden ‘does not believe’ Iranian attack ‘should’ escalate into broader war, White House official says

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told the president on Sunday Joe Biden does not believe that Iranian attacks on Israel should escalate overnight into a broader war in the Middle East.

“The president doesn’t believe it should go that way at all,” Kirby said in an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

His comments came hours after Iran launched an attack on Israel with more than 300 missiles and drones. The US helped Israel defend against the attack, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement late Saturday, and only a “few” of the ballistic missiles fired from Iran landed in Israel, an Israeli military spokesman said .

Most of the cruise missiles launched by Iran were intercepted by Israeli fighter jets, the spokesman said. It was the first time that Iran launched a direct military attack on Israel.

Kirby also declined to “take mortgages” on whether the U.S. would support an Israeli counterattack on Iran.

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“Israel has not, as far as I know, made any decisions about what the next step is,” Kirby told moderator Kristen Welker.

When asked if the Biden administration has a “red line” for its direct involvement in a conflict against Iran, Kirby declined to identify one, saying, “I mean… we could sit here all day talking about what is and What’s’. t a red line. I’m not going to do that.”

Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Mike TurnerR-Ohio, criticized Kirby’s comments, saying, “There should be a red line.”

“However, I think John Kirby has articulated very well the unfortunate, I think, misconceptions in the Biden administration’s policies,” Turner told Welker, adding: “Unfortunately, the Biden administration believes that if you missile defense is used, an attack cannot take place. does not happen.”

“You just heard John Kirby articulate that the defense was successful, and then almost as if he were denying the fact that Iran directly attacked Israel,” Turner added.

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He called on the Biden administration to “take seriously that this attack occurred.” It is unprecedented and should certainly be seen as an escalation.”

Still, Turner agreed: “I don’t think the United States should be involved in any military action directly against Iran at this time.”

Both Turner and Kirby applauded the joint effort by Israel and the US to deploy missile defense systems to protect against almost all incoming Iranian attacks.

Kirby said the effort was “an incredible military achievement by Israel” and “quite frankly the United States and other partners who helped Israel defend itself against more than 300 drones and missiles. I mean, it’s just an extraordinary example of military superiority.”

Turner added: “The United States and Israel have jointly developed missile defense technology that went to work last night and has proven to be successful.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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