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White House confirms support for Israel, but says ‘we are not seeking war with Iran’

US officials tried to strike a delicate balance with Israel on Sunday after the key US ally was attacked by Iran on Saturday. In doing so, they unwaveringly reaffirmed their alliance with the Israelis while making clear that the US will not support further military action.

Iran launched the airstrike with drones and missiles after Israel attacked an Iranian diplomatic facility in Syria, killing senior military figures. Israeli air defenses absorbed the barrage almost entirely – with virtually no damage or casualties on the ground.

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On Sunday’s political talk shows, John Kirby, Joe Biden’s National Security Council spokesman, said the United States would continue to defend Israel but wanted to escalate the conflict in the region.

“I think the president was once again very clear with Prime Minister Netanyahu about the success they enjoyed last night and the impact that success should have,” Kirby said on Meet the Press on NBC News. “As the president said, we are not seeking war with Iran.”

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The dynamic further underlines the complex and relationship that has developed between Biden and Netanyahu since the October 7 attacks on Israel. Biden has escalated criticism of Netanyahu amid the growing humanitarian crisis, calling the prime minister’s handling of the case “a mistake.”

Joe Biden released a statement Saturday evening describing “America’s ironclad commitment to Israel’s security.” Biden said Israel had made clear it could defend and defeat “unprecedented attacks” and sent a blunt message to enemies that it could defend itself.

The leaders of the G7 countries will meet on Sunday to come up with a “diplomatic response to Iran’s brutal attack”.

But privately, Biden and other national security officials have told Israel they would not take part in further military action against Iran, CNN, Axios and the New York Times reported.

Biden reportedly told Netanyahu that Israel should ultimately view its successful defense against nearly 300 drones and missiles as a victory.

“You have achieved a victory. Get the win,” Biden reportedly told Netanyahu, according to Axios.

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Netanyahu convened the country’s war cabinet on Sunday to consider next steps. Iran has warned it will respond with an even more powerful attack if Israel or the United States retaliate.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused Biden of caving to political pressure to “appease these so-called peace activists.” The ceasefire now consists of people cheering the launch of hundreds of missiles and drones against Israel yesterday.”

“They know Israel will respond. They know this for sure,” he said during an interview on CNN’s State of the Union. ‘There’s only one reason why they would leak that. And that is so if Israel responds, the White House can say, ‘we told them not to do it.’”

Pressed by NBC’s Kristen Welker about whether Biden trusted Netanyahu’s judgment on how to respond to Israel’s attack, Kirby declined to say anything.

‘He is the Prime Minister of Israel. He is the elected leader of their government. We will continue to work with him, advise him, provide counsel and perspective, and make it clear that he knows—and I think he certainly knows since last night—that the United States will continue to help them defend themselves. he said.

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