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Israel Iran war: US doesn’t want ‘escalation’ with Iran but will defend Israel: Blinken

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The United States does not want to see any escalation in hostilities with Iran, but will continue to defend Israel after it was attacked by Tehran, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday.

“We don’t seek escalation, but we’ll continue to support the defense of Israel and to protect our personnel in the region,” Blinken said at the start of a meeting with Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed Ali Tamim.

“What this weekend demonstrated is that Israel did not have to and does not have to defend itself alone when it is the victim of an aggression, the victim of an attack,” he added, calling Iran’s actions “unprecedented.”

Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel late Saturday, in retaliation for a deadly April 1 strike on Iran’s consulate in Syria that Tehran blames on Israel.

Most of those projectiles were intercepted before they reached Israel, with the help of the United States, Jordan and other allies.

Blinken said he was involved in a flurry of talks over the last 36 hours, seeking to coordinate a diplomatic response that would prevent any escalation of the crisis in the region.The US secretary of state has notably spoken with his counterparts in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Britain and Germany, according to the State Department.The Iraqi deputy prime minister said his government was concerned that the region could be “dragged into a wider war that will threaten international security and safety,” calling on all parties to exercise “self-restraint.”

Blinken’s meeting came ahead of US President Joe Biden’s talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani at the White House.

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