US officials believe Israel unlikely to strike Iran directly, will focus on proxies instead – NBC

The US believes that Israel’s response to Iran’s unprecedented attack early on Sunday morning is likely to be limited, and may focus on striking key targets outside of Iran, four US officials tell NBC.

Noting that the US’s assessment is based on conversations with Israeli officials prior to the attack and that Israel’s approach may since have shifted, the officials say that the lack of serious damage caused by Tehran may lead Jerusalem to seek a less aggressive response.

Instead of directly striking Iran in response — which Israel’s allies have warned runs the risk of sending the region spiraling into an all-out war — the officials tell NBC that Israel may strike Iran’s proxies, such as its militias in Syria or the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon.

The report adds that the US expects Israel to provide updates regarding the decisions it makes, but does not intend to take part in any retaliatory reaction.

An unsourced report by Channel 12 on Monday claimed that Israel’s war cabinet decided to hit back “clearly and forcefully” against Iran with a response designed to send the message that Israel “will not allow an attack of that magnitude against it to pass without a reaction.”

However, the Channel 12 report added that Israel does not want its response to spark a regional war, or to shatter the coalition that helped it defend against Iran’s attack. It noted also that Israel intends to coordinate its action with the US.

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