Israeli Defense Minister Gallant: No Choice But To Retaliate Against Iran Following Attack

During a Sunday call to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that the Israeli Defense Force ((DF) had no choice but to retaliate against Iran following the Islamic Republic's drone and missile attack against Israeli territory on Saturday.

As previously reported by the DC Enquirer, Iran launched over 330 drones, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles at Israel on Saturday in retaliation for Israel's assassination of Iranian military officials in Damascus, Syria. Despite the extensive attack, over 99 percent of the projectiles were shot down by the Israeli, American, British, French, Jordanian, and Saudi militaries. The only projectiles to hit Israel occurred in sparsely populated areas like the Negev Desert.

In response to the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his war cabinet in Tel Aviv and considered a retaliatory strike. President Biden has repeatedly warned against escalating the conflict into a broader regional war with Iran. However, Defene Minster Gallant told Austin that the attack could not go unanswered. 

According to Axios, Gallant said that Israel will not accept attacks from Iranian soil every time that they conduct an operation in Syria and that the salvo of ballistic missiles fired at Israel cannot go unanswered. 

The public readout of the Israeli military call said Gallant expressed the IDF's gratitude for American assistance during the attack, and the minister emphasized "that Israel's defense establishment remains alert and prepared to face additional threats." The two military men also discussed bolstering a regional partnership with other Middle Eastern states to counter Iranian aggression. Gallant explained to Austin that the attack was an opportunity to craft "a strategic alliance to counter the threat posed by Iran."

While Israel continues to consider whether a retaliatory attack against Iran is wise, President Biden has made clear to the country that he would not support any Israeli counterattack against Iran. "You got a win. Take the win," Biden reportedly told Netanyahu following the attack. "I told Prime Minister Netanyahu that Israel demonstrated a remarkable capacity to defend against and defeat even unprecedented attacks — sending a clear message to its foes that they cannot effectively threaten the security of Israel."

President Biden held a meeting with the G7 countries, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the UK, to discuss the attack and to create a united diplomatic front to Iran's aggression. "My team will engage with their counterparts across the region," Biden said. "And we will stay in close touch with Israel's leaders. And while we have not seen attacks on our forces or facilities today, we will remain vigilant to all threats and will not hesitate to take all necessary action to protect our people."

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