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US Media Claims Israel Considering Unilateral Airstrike Against Iran, Hopes Trump Will Support It

© AP Photo / Ariel SchalitIsraeli Air Force F-15 jet. (File)
Israeli Air Force F-15 jet. (File) - Sputnik International
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The report states that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had been contemplating the idea of striking Iranian nuclear objects when Barack Obama was in office, but had failed to gather support needed from the security cabinet at home to give it a go.

Israeli officials have been considering an option to deliver a unilateral airstrike against Iran, specifically its nuclear facilities, even if they won't be supported by the US administration, The New York Times stated in its recent report on Tel Aviv's alleged efforts to push the US into the offensive against its Middle East rival. The media hasn't indicated the source of this information, despite bringing up a number of American, Israeli and European former and current officials throughout the report. Sputnik was unable to independently verify the report by the New York Times.

The NYT report says that such a strike was on the table of the Israeli Cabinet back during Barack Obama's administration, which actively monitored Tel Aviv's preparations for it. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the plans, saying that he would approve such a strike "unequivocally", but failed to gather the support of a majority of his security cabinet at the time.

© AP Photo / Manuel Balce CenetaPresident Donald Trump welcomes visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House in Washington, Monday, March 25, 2019
US Media Claims Israel Considering Unilateral Airstrike Against Iran, Hopes Trump Will Support It - Sputnik International
President Donald Trump welcomes visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House in Washington, Monday, March 25, 2019

The newspaper's report further indicated that the strike didn't get support from the US, as the Obama administration feared the possible consequences not just for Israel, but for its own forces in the region as well. The report also said that such an airstrike is more likely to gain support from Trump's administration, if it's approved and conducted, but that doesn't mean Washington would participate in it.

“I think that it’s far more likely that Trump would give Netanyahu a green light to strike Iran than that Trump would strike himself. But that, you know, is a big risk", the Obama administration's ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said.

The Israeli Air Force has conducted a number of sorties in August reportedly targeting alleged Iranian-backed groups in Lebanon, Iraq and Syria, but only officially acknowledging a few of them. However, Netanyahu hinted that the area of IAF operations may extend further than the immediate vicinity of Israel's borders, if national security requires it.

During the period of Obama's administration, the US and Israel couldn't find common ground on Iran, with Washington willing to resolve concerns in regards to its nuclear programme with diplomacy and Tel Aviv opposing it. Israel condemned the signing of the Iran nuclear deal and the US ultimately withdrew from it under President Trump in May 2018, re-imposing sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

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