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Israel gave US last-minute warning about drone attack on Iran, Italian foreign minister says at G7

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CAPRI, Italy (AP) — The United States told the Group of Seven foreign ministers on Friday that it received “last minute” information from Israel about a drone action in Iran, but didn’t participate in the apparent attack, officials said.

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, who chaired the meeting of ministers of industrialized 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 defenses from a major air base and a nuclear site near the central Iranian city of Isfahan after spotting drones. It was part of an apparent Israeli attack in retaliation for Tehran’s unprecedented drone-and-missile assault on the country last weekend.

Tajani said the U.S. informed 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 U.S. It was a mere information.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken declined to comment on the assertion, but emphasized that the U.S. was not involved in any attack and was committed to working for a “de-escalation” in the region.

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

Asked to describe the current U.S.-Israeli relationship, Blinken noted that Israel makes its own decisions and the United States is committed to its security.

“We are committed to helping Israel defend itself and as necessary participating in its defense, as you saw just a few days ago,” Blinken said, referring to the U.S. and allied action to help Israel repel the weekend Iranian drone and missile attack.

“Again, Israel makes its decisions, but we have a commitment to defending it,” Blinken said.

Tajani said the G7 partners had all exchanged information Friday about what they knew about what had transpired in Iran. He said he shared that he had spoken on the phone with Italian embassies in Tel Aviv and Tehran and ascertained that the Italians living in Isfahan were all safe.

“There were no deaths or injuries,” Tajani said. “There is a group of Italians who live in the city where the drones arrived and they are all without problems. They say life has resumed regularly, and the Iranian airspace has reopened.”

“It seems the climate is better today than overnight,” he added.

In a communique following the three-day meeting, the ministers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States 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 destabilizing 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,” Tajani said in a closing press conference. He said that would include a de-escalation of tensions, followed by a cease-fire, liberation of hostages and aid to the Palestinian people.

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Colleen Barry in Soave, Italy contributed.

Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press

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