Iran Unlikely to Act Against Israel Over Soleimani Assassination, Defense Officials Tell Ministers

Netanyahu tells security cabinet ministers Israel should be left out of regional tension after Iranian general's killing, but urges them to support U.S.'s 'right to self-defense'

Mourners burn flags of the U.S. and Israel during a funeral for Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani at the Enqelab-e-Eslami square in Tehran, Iran, January 6, 2020.
AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi

Israeli defense officials told security cabinet ministers Monday that the likelihood of an Iranian response on Israel is low as of now.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also told ministers during the cabinet meeting that the Friday killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani was an American event, and should be left as such, urging them to focus on supporting the American argument of self-defense.

Another security cabinet assessment meeting of the situation is set to take place Wednesday.

Read more: Trump ends U.S. restraint with Soleimani assassination, and Iran won't hold back ■ Soleimani's mistake and Netanyahu's gain ■ To avert war with Iran, Trump will need all the strong nerves and sophistication he sorely lacks

Some Israeli officials were concerned after Tehran vowed "crushing revenge" for the killing, saying that the assassination will double motivation to retaliate against the U.S. and Israel.

Israeli defense told Haaretz last week that the likelihood of a response targeting Israel from north is small, after a U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria killed fighters in an Iranian-backed Shi’ite militia organization, which they said will not affect the Israel military.

The United States Embassy in Israel released a statement Monday alerting U.S. citizens of "heightened tension" in the region, which may "result in security risks to U.S. citizens abroad."

"Out of an abundance of caution, the embassy strongly encourages U.S. citizens to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness, as security incidents, including rocket fire, often take place without warning," read the statement.