Israel ‘gave US last-minute warning about drone attack on Iran’

19 April 2024, 12:54

Italy G7 Foreign Ministers
Italy G7 Foreign Ministers. Picture: PA

Antonio Tajani chaired a meeting of G7 foreign ministers,

The United States has told the Group of Seven foreign ministers that it received “last-minute” information from Israel about a drone action in Iran, Italy’s foreign minister said.

Italian foreign minister Antonio Tajani, who chaired the meeting of ministers of industrialised countries, said the United States provided the information at a Friday morning session that was changed at the last minute to address the suspected attack.

Early on Friday, Iran fired air defences at a major air base and a nuclear site near the central city of Isfahan after spotting drones, part of an apparent Israeli attack in retaliation for Tehran’s unprecedented drone-and-missile assault on the country last weekend.

Mr Tajani said the US told the G7 ministers that it had been “informed at the last minute” by Israel about the drones.

“But there was no sharing of the attack by the US. It was a mere information,” he added.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken declined to comment on the assertion, but emphasised that the US was not involved in any attack.

“I’m not going to speak to that except to say that the United States has not been involved in any offensive operations,” Mr Blinken said.

Italy G7 Foreign Ministers
US secretary of state Antony Blinken (Gregorio Borgia/AP)

In a communique following the three-day meeting, the ministers urged the parties “to prevent further escalation.”

The statement pledged support for Israel’s security and condemned “in the strongest terms” what the foreign ministers described as Iran’s “unprecedented attack against Israel of April 13-14, which Israel defeated with the help of its partners,” as well as the seizure of the Portuguese-flagged vessel MSC Aries in the Strait of Hormuz.

“We stand ready to adopt further sanctions or take other measures, now and in response to further destabilising initiatives,” the document read.

The group also warned Iran against transferring ballistic missiles and related technology to Russia.

On the war in Gaza, the group called on Hamas to release hostages and reminded Israel to respect international and humanitarian law.

It added that G7 countries remained opposed to “a full scale military operation in Rafah that would have catastrophic consequences on the civilian population”, and called for increasing the flow of aid into Gaza.

“The G7 worked and will work for a de-escalation,” Mr Tajani said in a closing press conference.

He said that would include a de-escalation of tensions, followed by a ceasefire, liberation of hostages and aid to the Palestinian people.

By Press Association

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