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Israel's War Cabinet Weighs Counter-Strike for Iran Missile Attack as White House Pushes Diplomacy

Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan shows a video of Iranian missiles flying over Al-Aqsa Mosque as he addresses the United Nations Security Council, Sunday, April 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan shows a video of Iranian missiles flying over Al-Aqsa Mosque as he addresses the United Nations Security Council, Sunday, April 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

JERUSALEM, Israel – Following the biggest drone and missile attack in history, Israel is deciding how to respond to Iran's strike that launched more than 300 projectiles over the weekend. 

The question is whether Israel will counter-attack, or whether allies, especially the U.S., will succeed in restraining Israel's military response.

Firing drones, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles early Sunday, Iran's action brought a 45-year shadow war with Israel into the light.

Some described those projectiles' 99 percent interception rate as a spectacular military achievement.

The anti-missile defensive shield put up by Israel and its allies including the U.S., the U.K., France, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, warded off the largest such attack of its kind ever put into the sky.

Stunning videos showed some missiles being shot down over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Israel's War Cabinet met Sunday to decide how to respond. Benny Gantz said Israel will act when the time is right, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant urged an international coalition against Iran.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged "maximum restraint," and the U.N. Security Council delivered the same message.

Iran says it considers the matter "concluded," and warned Israel not to retaliate.

After the attack, President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talked by phone. Biden reportedly told Netanyahu, "You got a win. Take a win." He counseled that Israel not retaliate. Instead, he pledged a diplomatic offensive with the G-7 nations. 

According to leaked reports from the phone call, the U.S. told Israel it wouldn't participate in any strike against Iran.

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National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby stated, "The president has been very clear. We don't seek a war with Iran. We are not looking for escalation here. We will continue to help Israel defend itself."

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Yet, some U.S. lawmakers say the U.S. should support an Israeli counter-strike.

Representative Mike McCaul (R-Texas), speaking on CBS Face the Nation, stated, "I think a proportionate response (is needed) – not just where they were launched from, but also the facilities that built the drones and rockets."

Senator John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) declared on Fox News, "We need to stand with Israel. Israel is not at war with Hamas or Hezbollah or Yemen. Those are all surrogates for Iran. They’re the prostitutes, the pimp is Iran. Israel is at war with Iran. Iran hates Americans, Iran hates Jews. Iran wants to kill Americans and Jews."

Reuters reported that Turkey acted as a mediator between Iran and the U.S. It said Iran informed Turkey in advance of its planned operation and added that Washington told Tehran that any action it took had to be "within certain limits." 

Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon told CBN News he believes a great defense is not enough.   

"We also have to show our offensive capabilities, in order to create deterrence in the region against Iran," Danon insisted. "They attacked a sovereign country with 300 rockets, missiles, and UAVs, and we cannot sit idly by." He added, “My position is that we must hit them hard. Teach them a lesson, that they will not do it again.”  

Reserve Brigadier General Amir Avivi believes without offensive military actions, Israel will "normalize" Iran's attack. 

While the Israelis and the allied partners praise the air defense, some also point to the power of prayer in protecting Israel.

“I want to thank all those who pray for us and stand with us. I think what we saw last night was the Hand of God protecting Israel as well," Ambassador Danon said.

CBN's Chuck Holton shared how he hosted a live report on YouTube in the minutes after the weekend attack started.

He recalled, "As rockets and drones (flew) towards Israel – so, before we knew what would take place, we have 40,000 people online, I believe. We prayed together, 40 thousand people – that's a stadium's worth of people. And we prayed that God would thwart the plans of evil men. He came through last night and he answered our prayer, and that's a very significant thing that I think we can't forget."

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