US official says Iran sought to cause ‘significant damage’ in Israel but failed

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Iran sent a message to the US last night through Switzerland informing Washington that its attack on Israel had ended, a senior Biden administration official says.

The official denies reports that Tehran gave a 72-hour heads-up to the US, insisting that it sought to cause “significant damage in Israel,” but failed.

“They might want to now say that what we didn’t mean to [cause casualties], but if you launch 100 ballistic missiles targeting certain locations — that was clearly their intent, they just didn’t succeed,” the official says.

“If successful, this attack could have caused an uncontrollable escalation of broader regional conflict — something we have worked day and night to avoid since October 7.”

Despite the lack of notification from Iran, US intel determined an attack was imminent and Washington managed to get assets in place and coordinate with partners to help Israel thwart the attack.

The Houthis also tried to join in on the Iranian strike, “but because we have that so well covered, we destroyed a ballistic missile launchpad [and] the other stuff they launched obviously did not make it to the target because we just have that area so well covered with a number of coalition partners,” the official says.

“Our goal remains to de-escalate immediately and halt any further attack… [But] if Iran takes action against us, we’re fully prepared to defend our people, our interests, and to hold Iran accountable,” the official adds.

The senior administration official reveals that during US President Joe Biden’s call with the G7 leaders earlier today, there was a discussion of some of the member countries designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp as a terror group, as well as a newly coordinated batch of sanctions against Iran.

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