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JERUSALEM: Israel faced growing pressure from allies on Monday to show restraint and avoid an escalation of conflict in the Middle East as it considered how to respond to Iran’s weekend missile and drone attack.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned his war cabinet for the second time in less than 24 hours, a government source said. Two top officials signalled on Sunday that retaliation was not imminent and Israel would not act alone, but the results of Monday’s talks were not yet known.

Iran’s attack has increased fears of open warfare between Israel and Iran, and heightened concerns that violence will spread further in the region. Wary of the dangers, President Joe Biden has told Netanyahu the United States will not take part in any Israeli counter-offensive against Iran.

Since the start of the war in Gaza on Oct. 7, clashes have erupted between Israel and Iran-aligned groups in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq, and Israel said four of its soldiers were wounded hundreds of metres inside Lebanese territory overnight.

It appeared to be the first such incident to become known since the Gaza war erupted, leading to months of exchanges of fire between Israel and Lebanon’s armed group Hezbollah.

“We’re on the edge of the cliff and we have to move away from it,” Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, told Spanish radio station Onda Cero. “We have to step on the brakes and reverse gear.”

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron made similar appeals, all echoing calls for restraint by Washington and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Countries including Belgium and Germany summoned the Iranian ambassadors.

Russia has refrained from criticising its ally Iran in public over the strikes but expressed concern about the risk of escalation on Monday and also called for restraint.

“Further escalation is in no one’s interests,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Iran launched the attack over a suspected Israeli airstrike on its embassy compound in Syria on April 1 that killed seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers including two senior commanders.

The weekend attack, involving more than 300 missiles and drones, caused only modest damage in Israel and no deaths. Most were shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome defence system and with help from the US, Britain, France and Jordan.

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