Herzog: Israel not ‘seeking war’ with Iran, but attack ‘has to be met accordingly’

Israeli President Isaac Herzog said Sunday that Israel “does not want war” with Iran after the country launched more than 300 rocket attacks on Saturday night, but said the barrage “doesn’t” We must respond accordingly,” he said, pledging to respond accordingly.

Iran and its proxies in Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen fired about 350 rockets, including more than 100 ballistic missiles, on Saturday in retaliation for Israel’s attack on Iranian military leaders at a diplomatic compound in Syria last week. It was fired at Israel.

According to the Israeli military, about 99% of the missiles were intercepted and damage to some military facilities was limited. President Biden has warned Israel not to retaliate against Iran amid growing concerns about a broader regional war in the Middle East.

“This was a very aggressive and brutal attack that was like a declaration of war,” Herzog said in an interview with CNN on Sunday. “But I was quick to add that we also don’t want war. We always want peace.”

Herzog argued that Saturday’s attack was part of a broader effort by Iran against Israel, and that any future Israeli response would be a defensive move.

“Iran has been at war with its proxies and against us for decades,” he said. “We are encountering an evil empire that seeks to eradicate all values ​​of the free world.”

He added that in light of this attack, governments around the world need to come together to take a stand against Iran.

“It’s about time the world stood up to them and said, ‘No, we won’t tolerate it.’ As President Biden said, ‘Stop it.’ So he’s saying, ‘Stop,’ and we’re saying, ‘Stop,’ so that’s why they got such a strong reaction last night,” Herzog said. “But I think the world needs to understand that this is a new development in the war that Iran is waging against the free world, and we have to respond accordingly.”

Members of Israel’s war cabinet have vowed to retaliate against Iran for the missile and drone launches, despite calls from the Biden administration.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby on Sunday declined to elaborate on questions about Biden’s pressure on the Israeli government following reports that Biden had tried to persuade Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to retaliate. He avoided mentioning it.

Kirby focused instead on what he called Israel’s “successes.”

Asked about Biden’s message to the prime minister on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Kirby said, “It was very clear: ‘We stand with you in self-defense.'” Told. “This was the main message that the president conveyed to the prime minister and congratulated the prime minister and the prime minister.” [Israel Defense Forces] They did an extraordinary job of knocking things out of the sky. ”

“But I won’t go into any further detail. Again, I go back to what the president has said over and over again: We are not seeking escalation.” We do not want a wider war in the region,” he added.

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