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Iran Tells US to Step Aside as it Readies Response to Israel

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By Dana Khraiche and Patrick Sykes
Bloomberg News

(Bloomberg News) Iran said it asked the United States to “step aside” as the country prepares a response to a suspected Israeli attack on its consulate in Syria while Hezbollah, its main proxy in the Middle East, warned the Jewish state it’s prepared for war. online news

In a written message to Washington, Iran “warned the U.S. not to get dragged into Netanyahu’s trap,” Mohammad Jamshidi, the Iranian president’s deputy chief of staff for political affairs, wrote on X, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The U.S. should “step aside so that you don’t get hit.”

“In response, the U.S. asked Iran not to hit American targets,” Jamshidi said.

The U.S. hasn’t commented on the alleged message Iran had sent.

CNN reported that the United States is on high alert and is preparing for a “significant” response from Iran against Israeli or American targets in the region. The network cited an unnamed U.S. official.

NBC, citing two unnamed U.S. officials, said President Joe Biden’s administration is concerned any attack could be inside Israel, specifically against “military or intelligence targets, rather than civilians.”

The Biden administration did take the unusual step of communicating directly to Iran that the U.S. was unaware Monday’s strike in Damascus would happen, Bloomberg reported. That suggested the U.S. was trying to prevent its own forces and bases in the Middle East being attacked.

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The Islamic Republic has said it will deliver a “slap” to Israel, its arch enemy. Still, it’s unclear when that would happen or whether Iran would try to attack Israel directly or through one of its proxy groups such as Hezbollah, based in Lebanon.

The airstrike hit the Iranian consulate in Damascus, killing at least seven Iranians, including two generals. While Israel has repeatedly targeted Iran-linked assets in Syria over the past few months, this was the first time an attack struck an Iranian diplomatic building.

Israel has been on alert since then, canceling home leave for combat troops, calling up reserves and bolstering air defenses. Its military scrambled navigational signals over Tel Aviv on Thursday to disrupt GPS-navigated drones or missiles that might be fired at the country.

Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, on Friday said a response from Iran is undoubtedly coming. But, he said, his group won’t “interfere in such decisions.”

“And after that, how Israel will behave, the region would enter in a new phase,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech.

Nasrallah, who lives in hiding, highlighted the coordinated work of Iran’s so-called resistance groups in the region.

Hezbollah, the Middle East’s most powerful militia, said the group hasn’t used “its primary arsenal” in the daily skirmishes with Israel along the southern border of Lebanon since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7.

Hezbollah is “completely prepared and ready” for any war with Israel, Nasrallah said.

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