Israel planned a much bigger attack on Iran but scaled it back after intense pressure from its allies: report

  • Israel planned a larger counterstrike on Iran, but scaled it back after pressure from its allies.

  • President Joe Biden persuaded Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call, per The New York Times.

  • The counterattack was in response to Iran launching over 300 missiles and drones at Israel.

Israel planned a much bigger counterstrike on Iran but dialed it back after intense pressure from its allies, including the US, according to senior Israeli officials who spoke to The New York Times.

Three officials, speaking anonymously owing to the sensitivity of the discussions, told the Times that Israeli leaders had considered striking multiple military targets across Iran, including some near the capital, Tehran.

The counterattack was in retaliation for Iran launching more than 300 missiles and drones at Israel in an unprecedented attack that was, according to the Israel Defense Forces, 99% intercepted before it hit its targets.

The barrage followed an attack on April 1, attributed to Israel, on an Iranian diplomatic facility in Damascus, Syria, which resulted in the death of several Iranian military officials.

According to the Times, Israel ultimately opted for a more limited strike on Friday, which avoided causing significant damage, after President Joe Biden and British and German foreign ministers urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to show restraint.

According to three Israeli and Western officials who spoke to the Times, during an early-morning phone call, Biden encouraged Netanyahu to view the successful defense against the Iranian attack as a victory that required no further escalation.

Citing Israeli sources, the newspaper reported that Netanyahu left the conversation opposed to an immediate and powerful retaliation.

Instead of sending fighter jets into Iranian airspace, Israel carried out a strike on a military base near the Iranian city of Isfahan on Friday.

The officials said Israel's contained response still underscored the sophistication of Israel's military capability, demonstrating the ability to strike Iran without entering its airspace and to penetrate its air-defense systems, the Times reported.

Israel also hoped to demonstrate its ability to target parts of Iran that house nuclear facilities, such as the uranium enrichment site in Natanz, according to the newspaper.

Thus far, the limited response seems to have prevented a major escalation in the region.

Contacted by Business Insider, the Israel Defense Forces declined to comment.

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