Israel’s European allies on Monday called on the country to show restraint over Iran’s missile and drone attack over the weekend, calling on Israeli leaders to avoid escalation in the Middle East.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s war cabinet, responsible for deciding the country’s response, will meet on Monday afternoon, a government source said.

Israeli officials revealed that the war cabinet, which also met on Sunday, showed inclination toward retaliation but was divided on the timing and scale of that response.

With the threat of an imminent war between Israel and Iran, and heightened tension regarding the war in Gaza, US President Joe Biden informed Netanyahu that the United States will not get involved in an Israeli counteroffensive against Iran, according to US officials.

The United Kingdom, France, Germany and the European Union’s foreign policy chief joined the United States and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in calling for restraint.

“We are on the edge of the precipice and we need to step back,” Josep Borrell, the EU high representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, told Spanish radio station Onda Cero. “We need to slow down and move back.”

French President Emmanuel Macron urged Israel to isolate Iran rather than escalate the situation. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned Iran to avoid further attacks and said Israel must also contribute to reducing violence.

Iran’s ally Russia has refrained from publicly criticizing the country over the attacks, but expressed concern about the risk of escalation on Monday and also called for restraint.

“A further escalation is in no one’s interest,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Iran launched the attack in response to a suspected Israeli airstrike on its embassy compound in Syria on April 1, which resulted in the deaths of seven Iranian Revolutionary Guard officers, including two senior commanders.

This came after months of clashes between Israel and Iran’s regional allies, triggered by the war in Gaza, which spread to fronts with Iran-aligned groups in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq.

The weekend attack, involving more than 300 missiles and drones, caused only modest damage in Israel. Most were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system and with help from the US, UK, France and Jordan.

The only serious injury reported in Israel was that of a seven-year-old child, injured by shrapnel.

With information from Reuters


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