Israeli officials have been concerned about the Trump administration’s response to Iran amid the latest tension between Washington and Tehran, reported Israel’s Channel 13 and Axios on Thursday.
The officials told the outlets that U.S. President Donald Trump seeks to avoid military conflict, and that if the administration does not launch even a limited military response, Iran will continue with the attacks.
This development preceded Trump calling off retaliatory strikes against Iran for shooting down an American spy drone near the Strait of Hormuz, which Trump confirmed on Friday, saying that such a response was “not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”
“We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not … proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!” he posted in subsequent tweets.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton and CIA director Gina Haspel supported a military response to the downing of the drone, but top Pentagon officials warned that an attack on Iran might endanger American forces in the region, reported The New York Times.
Congressional leaders were also briefed by administration officials in the White House Situation Room.
Wednesday’s incident occurred less than a week after Iran allegedly attacked two tankers—one carrying oil and the other transferring a freight of methanol—in the Gulf of Oman near the strategic Strait of Hormuz. Iran has denied responsibility for the incident.