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Pentagon frustrated as Israel did not notify US over strike on Iran site in Syria: Report

April 12, 2024 at 1:55 pm

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and relatives of the victims attends the funeral ceremony held for victims who lost their lives in Israeli attack on Iran’s consulate building in the embassy compound in Damascus in Tehran, Iran on April 04, 2022. [Iranian Leader Press Office/Handout – Anadolu Agency]

Senior Pentagon officials were frustrated as Israel did not notify the US before conducting a strike on an Iranian diplomatic mission in the Syrian capital of Damascus earlier this month, an escalation that they assess increases risks to American forces in the Middle East, The Washington Post reported on Friday, citing US officials.

Tensions between Israel and Iran rose further, on Wednesday, when Tehran vowed revenge for an Israeli air force attack which killed two senior Commanders from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Anadolu Agency reports.

Three US officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Washington Post that Defence Secretary, Lloyd Austin, and other senior defence officials believed Israel should have informed them ahead of time because of the strike’s implications for US troops and interests in the region.

US and Israeli officials are closely coordinating how they may respond to an Iranian counter-strike, officials said, with a top American General visiting Israel on Thursday.

READ: US seeks China’s help to urge Iran not to retaliate against Israel

During a call on 3 April, Austin complained directly to his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Gallant, one of the US officials said. A Pentagon readout of the conversation did not disclose that detail, saying only that Austin “reiterated US support for Israel’s defence against a range of regional threats”.

The Israeli Embassy in Washington did not immediately provide comment on the exchange, according to the US daily.

Israel is on high alert amid fears of a possible Iranian attack in retaliation for an alleged Israeli strike on the Iranian Consulate in Damascus on 1 April, according to Israeli media.

At least seven members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed in the attack, including two top generals.

Israeli Foreign Minister, Israel Katz, threatened Wednesday that his country’s military would strike Iran directly if Tehran launched an attack from its territory against Israel.

The escalation comes as Israel continues to wage a deadly military offensive on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack in early October by the Palestinian group, Hamas, which killed around 1,200 people.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

More than 33,600 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have since been killed in Gaza and over 76,000 injured amid mass destruction and displacement.

Israel strike on Iranian Embassy: A grave threat to global diplomatic laws