US Embassy in Jerusalem
US Embassy in JerusalemYonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Amid the threats of an Iranian retaliation for the attack on its consulate in Damascus which was attributed to Israel, the US Embassy in Israel on Thursday instructed US government employees and their families to restrict their travelling within Israel.

“The US Embassy in Jerusalem reminds US citizens of the continued need for caution and increased personal security awareness as security incidents often take place without warning.  The security environment remains complex and can change quickly depending on the political situation and recent events,” the Embassy said in a security alert.

“Out of an abundance of caution, US government employees and their family members are restricted from personal travel outside the greater Tel Aviv (including Herzliya, Netanya, and Even Yehuda), Jerusalem, and Be’er Sheva areas until further notice. US government personnel are authorized to transit between these three areas for personal travel,” it added.

The alert also said that “the US Embassy may further restrict or prohibit US government employees and their family members from traveling to certain areas of Israel (including the Old City of Jerusalem) and the West Bank.”

Earlier on Thursday, Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant spoke with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

The Minister and Secretary discussed readiness for an Iranian attack against the State of Israel, which could lead to regional escalation. Minister Gallant detailed preparations, and emphasized that the State of Israel will not tolerate an Iranian attack on its territory.

The Minister of Defense reflected his commitment to the security of Israel’s citizens, as such, a direct Iranian attack on Israeli territory would require an appropriate Israeli response against Iran.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Gallant and reiterated US support for Israel’s security.

In a statement following the call, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said that Blinken made clear to Gallant “that the US will stand with Israel against any threats by Iran and its proxies.”

Meanwhile, Iranian sources told Reuters on Thursday that Iran has signalled to Washington that it will respond to the attack attributed to Israel on its Syrian embassy in a way that aims to avoid major escalation and it will not act hastily.

Iran's message to Washington was conveyed by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian during a visit on Sunday to the Gulf Arab state of Oman, which has often acted as an intermediary between Tehran and Washington, the sources said.

A White House spokesperson declined to comment on any messages from Iran but said the United States has communicated to Iran that it was not involved in the strike on the embassy.