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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

US ‘very concerned’ over potential Israel-Iran war – White House

Tehran’s threat to West Jerusalem is very real and public, adviser John Kirby has claimed

Washington is worried about the escalating tensions between Iran and Israel, White House National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby said on Thursday. Speaking on CNN’s ‘The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer’, Kirby said the White House is concerned that the situation may evolve into a full-fledged war.

The statements come after a deadly airstrike on an Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital, Damascus earlier this week, which killed seven military officials of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, including a top Iranian general. Tehran blamed the attack on Israel, with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowing retaliation and saying that Israel would “receive a slap in the face.”

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“We’re very concerned,” Kirby said in response to a question regarding Iran’s threats and what they may lead to.

“In fact, one of the things that the prime minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] and the president [Joe Biden] talked about today was this very public, very real threat by Iran to the State of Israel,” he added, noting that the US is taking the situation very seriously.

“Nobody wants to see this conflict escalate,” Kirby stated. He said, however, that the US will continue to stand with Israel and provide military aid.

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The diplomatic compound in Damascus was hit by a missile, purportedly launched by an Israeli F-35 fighter jet, on Monday. Israel has not claimed responsibility for the attack, in line with its traditional policy of neither confirming nor denying operations on foreign soil. However, Israel has repeatedly bombed Syria, Iran’s closest strategic ally, in recent years.

Monday’s attack comes amid the war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza. Israel has accused Iran of backing Hamas and masterminding the deadly October 7 raid on Israeli citizens, which claimed the lives of an estimated 1,200 Israelis and kickstarted the current conflict.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared war on Hamas following the attack and vowed to eradicate the group. Over 33,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza in the past six months, with much of the enclave razed to the ground. Tehran, for its part, denied involvement in the October attack, but pledged to continue to support Hamas and other Palestinian groups.