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Biden convenes G7 to discuss the Iranian threat and prevent an escalation after the attack on Israel

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Biden convenes G7 to discuss the Iranian threat and prevent an escalation after the attack on Israel
April 14, 2024
ZEKE MILLER - AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden convened the Group of Seven advanced democracies on Sunday to coordinate a rebuke to Iran for its unprecedented and largely unsuccessful aerial attack on Israel and to prevent a wider regional escalation.

The United States assisted Israel in shooting down dozens of drones and missiles fired by Tehran in what was the first time that Iran has launched a direct military assault on Israel. Israeli authorities said 99% of the inbound weapons were shot down without causing any significant damage.

“At my direction, to support the defense of Israel, the U.S. military moved aircraft and ballistic missile defense destroyers to the region over the course of the past week,” Biden said in a statement late Saturday. “Thanks to these deployments and the extraordinary skill of our servicemembers, we helped Israel take down nearly all of the incoming drones and missiles.”

Biden, in a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that night, urged that Israel claim victory for its defense prowess as the president aimed to dissuade America's closest Mideast ally from a larger retaliatory strike against Iran. Biden, according to a senior administration official, told Netanyahu that the U.S. would not participate in any offensive action against Iran. The official was not authorized to publicly discuss the private conversation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

“I told him that Israel demonstrated a remarkable capacity to defend against and defeat even unprecedented attacks -– sending a clear message to its foes that they cannot effectively threaten the security of Israel,” Biden said in his statement.

The G7 meeting, Biden said, is intended “to coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack.”

The effort to encourage Israel to show restraint mirrored ongoing American efforts to curtail Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza, which is now in its seventh month, and to do more to protect civilian lives in the territory.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, criticized White House for “leaking it to the press” that Biden told Netanyahu to take the win and not retaliate.

Rubio told CNN's “State of the Union” that it wast “part of the White House’s efforts to appease” people calling for a cease-fire in Gaza.

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