Joe Biden expects Iran to attack Israel


US President Joe Biden says he expects Iran to attack Israel “sooner than later”, as fears grow of Iranian retaliation over an air strike that killed top commanders early this month.

Israel has not admitted attacking an Iranian consulate in Syria but is widely believed to have been behind it.

US officials have told CBS News, the BBC’s US partner, that a major attack on Israel could happen imminently.

Israel says it is ready to defend itself. Mr Biden told Iran : “Don’t.”

“We are devoted to the defence of Israel. We will support Israel,” Mr Biden said. “We will help defend Israel and Iran will not succeed.”

Iran backs Hamas, the Palestinian group fighting Israel in Gaza, as well as various proxy groups throughout the region, including some – such as Hezbollah in Lebanon – that frequently carry out strikes against the Israelis.

On Friday, Hezbollah said it had launched “dozens” of rockets from Lebanon towards Israel. An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman said around 40 missiles and two explosive drones had been launched. No casualties were reported and there were no indications of involvement from other actors.

A US official told CBS the barrage was separate from any expected Iranian attack on Israel.

BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner says Iran is deliberately keeping the Middle East and Washington guessing.

Ever since the lethal 1 April strike on the consulate building in Damascus, from which Israel believes Iran was directing its covert arms supplies to Iranian proxies in Lebanon and Syria, Iran’s security establishment has been debating its response. -BBC