World leaders urge Israel not to retaliate after Iran strike

World leaders are urging Israel not to launch a retaliatory attack on Iran, which bombarded Israel with more than 300 missiles and drones this weekend.

Many of Israel’s democratic allies have forcefully condemned Iran’s attack but have expressed concern about escalating the situation in the Middle East.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the attack was a “disproportionate response” by Iran after an alleged Israeli strike earlier this month near the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Syria, killing two senior officers in Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

“We have condemned, we have intervened, we will do everything to avoid an escalation, an inferno,” Macron said to French media BFMTV and RMC.

Macron added that France will try to “convince Israel that we must not respond by escalating,” and, instead of attacking Tehran, work to “isolate Iran, increase sanctions and find a path to peace in the region.”

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron, meanwhile, told the BBC that the U.K. does not support a retaliatory strike and urged Israel not to attack.

“Now is the time to be smart as well as tough, to think with head as well as heart,” Cameron said.

And German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Israel should “contribute to de-escalation” following the Iranian attack and placed blame on Iran, saying, “Iran must stop this aggression.”

Scholz and other European allies echoed President Biden’s sentiment, calling Israel’s ability to shoot down the vast majority of missiles launched by Iran, with the help of its allies, a success that was “really impressive.”

“This is a success that perhaps also should not be thrown away. Hence also our advice to contribute to de-escalation themselves,” Scholz said, referring to Israel.

Some Israeli officials have pushed back on this characterization, however.

“Yes, it’s a remarkable success of Israel’s air defense systems, but it’s not a victory,” former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement on X.

“When a bully tries to hit you 350 times and only succeeds seven time, you’ve NOT won,” he added, noting that while most of the approximately 350 missiles and drones were intercepted, not all were.

Israeli officials have not indicated how they would respond to the attack, which risks further escalation in the region.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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