Biden says he expects Iran will attack Israel ‘sooner than later’

The US has been on high alert for a significant Iranian retaliatory attack on Israel in recent days as fears grow of a wider regional war, ITV News US Correspondent Dan Rivers reports

US President Joe Biden has said that he expects Iran will attack Israel “sooner than later” as tensions in the region continue to rise.

“I don’t want to get into secure information but my expectation is sooner than later,” Biden told reporters at a White House briefing on Friday when asked how imminent an Iranian attack on Israel would be.

Asked what his message to Iran is right now, the president said: “Don’t.”

In response to more shouted questions from reporters in the room, the president returned to the podium to add that the United States is “devoted” to the defence of Israel.

“We will support Israel we will help defend Israel and Iran will not succeed,” he said.

The US has been on high alert for a significant Iranian retaliatory attack on Israel in recent days as fears grow of a wider regional war.

There remains a “real,” “credible” and “viable” threat of Iran launching strikes, the White House said on Friday, following Israel’s attack on an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria last week that killed three Iranian generals.

Biden, who warned this week that Iran was threatening a “significant attack” on Israel, has been receiving constant updates on the situation from his national security team.

The US and several other countries, including Britain and France, issued new travel guidelines for government employees in Israel as the Iranian threat loomed.

On Thursday, Rishi Sunak said that Britain had already “highlighted Iran as a significant risk to regional security” and taken steps to protect the UK from threats from Tehran.

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said that he made clear to his Iranian counterpart, Amir-Abdollahian, that Iran "must not draw the Middle East into a wider conflict" in a discussion on Thursday.

"I am deeply concerned about the potential for miscalculation leading to further violence. Iran should instead work to de-escalate and prevent further attacks," he said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, also on Thursday.

The US will attempt to intercept any weapons launched at Israel if it’s feasible to do so, two officials told CNN, an indication of the level of ongoing cooperation between the two militaries.

US Navy forces in the Red Sea have previously intercepted long-range missiles launched from the Houthis in Yemen towards Israel.

Meanwhile, US forces in Iraq and Syria could also potentially intercept drones and rockets targeting northern Israel, depending on the location from which they’re launched.

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