Monday Briefing: Israel Weighs a Response to Iran

An Israeli home where a 7-year-old girl was injured by shrapnel.Credit…Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Israel weighs a response to Iran

Calm mostly prevailed in Israel yesterday after Iran fired more than 300 missiles and drones at the country overnight. Nearly all were intercepted, Israeli military officials said, and those that made an impact caused only minor damage.

Here are the latest updates, and here is a summary of what we know.

Iran’s expected response to Israel’s recent strike on the Iranian Embassy complex in Syria — which killed several of Iran’s top commanders — was its first direct attack on Israel after decades of shadow warfare.

Iran seems to want to de-escalate. It targeted only military sites and advertised the attack in advance — which analysts described as an effort to avoid casualties. Iran has also signaled that it would not strike further unless attacked.

Now, the focus is on Israel. The strikes shook its assumptions about Iran, undermining its long-held calculation that its foe would be best deterred by greater Israeli aggression. Yesterday, the Israeli war cabinet met to discuss possible responses, and the defense minister, Yoav Gallant, said that the country’s confrontation with Iran was “not over yet.”

Two Israeli officials said some war cabinet members had urged a retaliatory strike, but that was called off after the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, spoke by phone with President Biden.

Details: The U.S. said it had shot down dozens of the Iran-launched drones and missiles. So did Britain and Jordan, which said it acted in self-defense. One person, a 7-year-old girl, was seriously wounded by missile fragments.

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