Israel Will Respond to Iran’s Attack, Cameron Says

For days, Israel’s closest Western allies have pleaded with the country’s wartime government not to risk igniting a wider war by responding too strongly to Iran’s barrage of missiles and drones last weekend. And on Wednesday, the top diplomats from Germany and Britain delivered that message in person to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.But Mr. Netanyahu emerged from those talks resolute that his country would not bow to any outside pressure when choosing its response. He declared before a cabinet meeting that Israel would “do everything necessary to defend itself” and warned the allies that “we will make our own decisions,” according to his office.The British foreign secretary, David Cameron, acknowledged just before meeting with the prime minister that Israel was unlikely to heed pleas to turn the other cheek.“It is clear that the Israelis are making a decision to act,” Mr. Cameron told the BBC. “We hope that they do so in a way that does as little to escalate this as possible.”The United States, Britain and Germany have been urging Israel to avoid making moves that could increase tension with Iran, which launched around 300 missiles and drones on Saturday night in what was believed to be its first direct attack on Israel. Most of the missiles and drones were shot down before they reached their targets — thanks in part to the assistance of the United States, Britain, France and Jordan — and the ones that got through did minimal damage.Mr. Netanyahu thanked Israel’s allies for their “support in words and support in actions” in remarks before a cabinet meeting, according to his office. But he added: “They also have all kinds of suggestions and advice. I appreciate it, but I want to make it clear — we will make our own decisions.”Iran warned that it would react forcefully to any Israeli aggression, with the army’s commander in chief, Maj. Gen. Abdolrahim Mousavi, saying on Wednesday: “We will respond with more deadly weapons.”Israel’s war cabinet has met several times since the weekend with no apparent decision on when and how to strike back against the attack. Officials are said to be considering a range of options, from a direct strike on Iran to a cyberattack or targeted assassinations, trying to send a clear message to Iran while not sparking a major escalation.“Israel will respond when it sees fit,” an Israeli official said on Wednesday, adding that it had “multiple ways” to do so. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, announced early Thursday that new European sanctions would be imposed on Iran’s drone and missile programs as punishment for last weekend’s attacks.“It’s a clear signal that we want to send,” Mr. Michel said, emerging after midnight from a meeting of leaders of the European Union’s member states in Brussels. “We need to isolate Iran.” He said more details about the new sanctions would be announced in the coming days.Adam Rasgon and Lara Jakes contributed reporting.

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