Israel should not be dragged into the conflict between the U.S. and Iran, local media quoted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as saying Monday.
While chairing a security cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said the killing of top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was carried out by the U.S., stressing his country was “not involved.”
Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Forces, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, vice president of the Hashd al-Shaabi group, or Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), were assassinated in a U.S. drone strike Friday outside Baghdad International Airport.
Netanyahu also urged his ministers to reiterate Israel’s support for America’s right to defend itself when speaking to the media.
During the meeting, top Israeli intelligence officials reassured the ministers that the likelihood of a retaliatory attack by Iran against Israel was low, since “Israel stayed at a distance from the incident,” according to Channel 13.
Soleimani’s slaying marked a dramatic escalation in tensions between the U.S. and Iran, which have often been at a fever pitch since President Donald Trump chose in 2018 to unilaterally withdraw Washington from a nuclear pact world powers struck with Tehran.
Iran promised to take revenge for the killing of Soleimani and announced Sunday that it would stop complying with the 2015 nuclear deal. Trump has since threatened to target cultural sites in Iran.