Nothing to see here: US and Israel are radio silent on strike against Iran

Hours after a senior US official told ABC News that Israeli fighter jets bombed an air defense radar site inside Iran, senior US and Israeli officials on Friday refused to publicly acknowledge the incident in an apparent move aimed at calming the situation and preventing Iran from intervening. Revenge.

The radio silence was notable after weeks of US officials publicly calling on Israel to show restraint.

At the end of the G7 foreign ministers' meeting in Capri, Italy, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was asked why he had not addressed what happened overnight.

The reporter also asked: “Isn't it important that you do that? Can you tell us if you have spoken with your Israeli counterparts?”

“I'm going to be very boring and not make your day by saying, again, I'm not going to talk about what was reported — other than to say that the United States was not involved in any attack,” Blinken responded. Operations.”

He added, “The United States, along with our partners, will continue to work to stop the escalation.”

But even as Blinken deflected, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani appeared to reveal that Israel had given the US a heads-up before the strike.

“She was – [the] “The United States – we were informed at the last minute, but there was no intervention on the part of the United States, it was just information that was provided,” Tajani said.

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According to a senior US official, three missiles were launched early Thursday local time from Israeli fighter jets outside Iran. The target was an air defense radar site near Asfa that helps protect a nearby nuclear facility.

It is believed that the limited strike shows Iran that Israel has the ability to cause real damage, but at the same time does not provoke Iran.

Iran described the Israeli strike as a dramatic exaggeration by the media. Iranian Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian said, during a meeting at the United Nations, that “the small plane that was shot down did not cause any financial or life damage.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that there was no damage to the Natanz nuclear facility.

Shoki Friedman of the Jewish People Policy Institute, and former head of the Iran sanctions program in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office, likened the strike to Israel sending a “text message” to Iran.

“Israel has sent a message that we can reach anywhere” and “demonstrate the capabilities to launch a more significant attack,” Friedman said.

He added: “I think the Israelis were determined to show Iran that they could target a sensitive facility in Iran, but they did so in a way that would not lead to a reaction.”

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“They have also chosen, with the exception of the Minister of National Security, not to discuss (the incident) publicly because it would be counterproductive to trying to contain and de-escalate the situation,” Mulroy added.

The United States appears to be doing the same.

At the Pentagon, aides on Thursday were working remotely or announced they were busy with no plans to brief reporters. The State Department was also quiet.

This slow pace could be typical in Washington on a Friday, as employees look for the exits for an early weekend.

But the quiet passages were noteworthy, given that a close US ally had just launched a direct attack on Iran and no comment was found.

At the White House, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, who briefed reporters at length throughout the week, was not at the podium for the daily news conference.

When pressed by reporters on whether declining to comment was part of the administration's de-escalation strategy, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said she would be “very careful” in her comments.

“I understand the interest and I will be disappointing a lot of people here. This afternoon, I don’t have anything to share,” she said.

She added that “in general,” the United States was clear: “We do not want to see this conflict escalate.”

One US official, who declined to discuss any details, offered this assessment of the unusual silence so long as he was granted anonymity: “In the end, we are trying to stop the war here.”

ABC's Matt Gutman contributed to this report.

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