Israel Weighs Response to Iran Attack, With Each Choice a Risk

Israeli leaders on Tuesday were debating how best to respond to Iran’s unprecedented weekend airstrike, officials said, weighing a set of options calibrated to achieve different strategic outcomes: deterring a similar attack in the future, placating their American allies and avoiding all-out war.

Iran’s attack on Israel, an immense barrage that included hundreds of ballistic missiles and exploding drones, changed the unspoken rules in the archrivals’ long-running shadow war. In that conflict, major airstrikes from one country’s territory directly against the other had been avoided.

Given that change in precedent, the calculus by which Israel decides its next move has also changed, said the Israeli officials who requested anonymity to discuss Iran.

“We cannot stand still from this kind of aggression,” Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the spokesman for Israel’s military said on Tuesday. Iran, he added, would not get off “scot-free with this aggression.”

As Israel’s war cabinet met to consider a military response, other countries were applying diplomatic pressure to both Israel and Iran in the hopes of de-escalating the conflict.

Almost all of the missiles and drones fired in Iran’s attack early on Sunday were intercepted by Israel and its allies, including the United States and Britain.

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