Trump and Netanyahu speak about ‘critical regional issues’ after Iran targets US bases in Iraq


JERUSALEM (JTA) — President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone about “critical bilateral and regional issues,” the White House announced.

The conversation took place Wednesday, a day after Iran targeted U.S. bases in Iraq with dozens of ballistic missiles in retaliation for the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Quds Force, which operates a number of regional militias and is allied with terrorist groups targeting Israel, including Hezbollah and Hamas.

The White House did not offer any details about the conversation in its brief statement.

After the missile attack on U.S. bases, Iran said a further escalation would lead to attacks on U.S. allies in the region, including Israel.

Hours before the conversation on Wednesday, Netanyahu, in a speech in Jerusalem, praised the killing.

“Qassem Soleimani was responsible for the death of countless innocent people. He destabilized many countries. For decades, he sowed fear and misery and anguish and he was planning much worse,” Netanyahu said. “President Trump should be congratulated for acting swiftly, boldly and resolutely against this terrorist-in-chief who was the architect and driver of Iran’s campaign of carnage and terror throughout the Middle East and throughout the world.”

Netanyahu added that Israel will “stand steadfast against those who seek our lives. We stand determined and strong. Whoever tries to attack us will receive a crushing blow in return.”


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