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Israel launches drone strike on Iran in retaliation for weekend attack

Outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the Knesset, Israel's parliament, before the vote of confidence was cast confirming the new coalition government that unseated Netanyahu as prime minister in Jerusalem on June 13, 2021. (Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Israel carried out a retaliatory attack against Iran early Friday morning, U.S. and international officials confirmed.

Speaking at the G7 conference in Capri, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani revealed the U.S. received “last-minute” information regarding Israeli drone action in Iran. But while the United States was given some notice, it did not endorse or participate in the strike, officials said.

“There was no sharing of the attack by the U.S,” said Tajani, who chaired the meeting of ministers. “It was mere information.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken later confirmed the U.S. “has not been involved in any offensive operations,” adding that the focus is on Israel’s defense and de-escalation.

“We are committed to helping Israel defend itself and as necessary participating in its defense, as you saw just a few days ago,” he said referring to the U.S. and allied action to help Israel block the weekend airstrikes. “Again, Israel makes its decisions, but we have a commitment to defending it.”

U.S. officials also told CNN and ABC News of the strike, which came on the heels of Iran’s weekend attack, involving a volley of of more than 300 drones and missiles aimed at Israel. All but a few were intercepted by the nation and its allies, including the United States.

Iranian officials have so far sought to downplay the Israeli strike, which could signify a potential escalation in the Middle East conflict. Still, the nation’s air defense systems were activated after explosions sounded Friday in the cities of Tabriz and Isfahan, which is home to a major military airbase and several nuclear sites, state media reported.

There have been no reports of casualties and Israel has so far offered no comment.

Maj. Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi, the commander-in-chief of Iran’s army, on Friday said the blasts were related to “a suspicious object that did not cause any damage.”

Satellite images obtained by CNN from Umbra Space seemingly backed his comments. The Isfahan air base, purportedly one of Israel’s targets, appears unscathed in the photos, with no craters or destroyed infrastructure in sight.

In the hours after the strike, the G7 ministers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States called on all parties “to prevent further escalation.” They further pledged support for Israel’s security and condemned “in the strongest terms” what the foreign ministers described as Iran’s “unprecedented attack against Israel on April 13-14, which Israel defeated with the help of its partners,” as well as the seizure of the Portuguese-flagged vessel MSC Aries in the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran’s attack over the weekend came nearly six months after Hamas invaded Israel on Oct. 7. The Palestinian terrorist group launched thousands of rockets from the Strip before scores of armed fighters flooded Israeli communities along the southern border.

The invasion prompted an Israeli response, a relentless bombardment and subsequent ground assault in Gaza, which is ongoing.

With News Wire Services

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