Iranian notice of attack may have dampened escalation risks

Two Iraqi sources, including a government security adviser and a security official, said Iran had used diplomatic channels to inform Baghdad about the attack at least three days before it happened.

The exact timing of the attack was not disclosed at that point, but was passed to Iraqi security and military authorities hours before the strikes, allowing Baghdad to close its airspace and avoid fatal accidents.

“The government clearly understood from the Iranian officials that the US military in Iraq was also aware of the attack in advance,” said the Iraqi security official.

A senior Jordanian official said Iran had summoned Arab envoys in Tehran on Wednesday to inform them of their intention to carry out an attack, though it did not specify the timing.

Asked if Iran had also given details about the targets and kind of weapons to be used, the Jordanian source did not respond directly but gave an indication that that was the case.

An Iranian source briefed on the matter said Iran had informed the US through diplomatic channels that included Qatar, Turkey and Switzerland about the scheduled day of the attack, assuring it would be conducted in a manner to avoid provoking a response.

How far escalation can be avoided remains in question. Biden has told Israel the United States will not join any Israeli retaliation, the US official said.

However, Israel is still weighing its response and will “exact the price from Iran in the fashion and timing that is right for us”, Israeli minister Benny Gantz said on Sunday.


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