WASHINGTON (AP) — Emphasizing its role in aiding Israel in thwarting Iran’s aerial assault, the United States, under President Joe Biden, convened the Group of Seven leaders to prevent a potential wider regional escalation by coordinating global condemnation of Tehran.

The U.S. provided assistance to Israel in intercepting multiple drones and missiles fired by Iran on Saturday, marking the first direct military strike by Iran on Israel. Israeli officials reported a 99% success rate in neutralizing the incoming threats without significant damage.

U.S. officials indicated that Iran’s objective was to “inflict destruction and casualties,” warning that the successful attacks would have sparked an “unmanageable” escalation across the Middle East. Biden informed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the U.S. would not engage in offensive actions against Iran and stressed the need for cautious strategic deliberation to prevent escalation.

The effort to advise Israel on exercising restraint resembled ongoing American endeavors to minimize Israel’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza and prioritize the protection of civilians.

While the U.S. and allies were prepared for the attack, the magnitude of the launches exceeded expectations, according to anonymous officials not authorized to comment publicly on the issue.

During the attack, around 100 ballistic missiles from Iran were simultaneously airborne with a short flight duration to Israel. Biden and senior officials closely monitored the interception attempts in real-time at the White House Situation Room, expressing relief upon the success of the missile defense operations.

A senior U.S. military official reported the downing of over 70 drones and cruise missiles by American aircraft, while U.S. destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea neutralized between four to six ballistic missiles, and an American Patriot missile battery in Iraq intercepted another.

“In alignment with my directives to support Israel’s defense, the U.S. military strategically positioned aircraft and ballistic missile defense destroyers in the region over the past week,” stated Biden in a late Saturday declaration.

Official statements affirmed the U.S.’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s defense, regardless of disagreements regarding the Gaza conflict, and pledged similar support if necessary.

Iran did not deliberately provide advance notice of the attack to Israel and the U.S., but the countries utilized the time before the assault to prepare a response. Genuine diplomatic communication during the attack was facilitated through the Swiss government due to the absence of direct diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Iran.

Biden, in a call with Netanyahu, urged Israel to emphasize its defensive capabilities and refrain from escalating attacks against Iran.

Following a call with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Biden cautioned against actions that could provoke broader regional conflict and aimed to expedite resolutions to the crisis in Gaza.

The G7 leaders denounced Iran’s direct assault, expressing full solidarity with Israel and reiterating their commitment to its security. They warned Iran of destabilizing actions that could lead to uncontrolled regional tensions and pledged to take necessary countermeasures.

Discussions among the nations involved detailed plans for mitigating the situation.

Designating the Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran as a terrorist group could lead to additional sanctions against Tehran, although final decisions are still pending.

The G7’s statement made reference to the Israel-Hamas conflict, stating their commitment to strengthen “our collaboration to resolve the situation in Gaza, including continuous efforts towards an immediate and lasting ceasefire and the liberation of captives by Hamas, as well as providing increased humanitarian aid to Palestinians in distress.

Prior to a United Nations Security Council meeting on Sunday, U.S. deputy ambassador Robert Wood reiterated the administration’s unwavering support for Israel’s defense.

Wood announced that in the upcoming days, the United States, in cooperation with other member states, will be exploring additional actions to hold Iran responsible within the United Nations framework, and urged for an immediate condemnation by the Security Council in response to the Iranian assault.

Both the United States and Israel were on alert for an imminent strike following Iran’s vow to retaliate for a purported Israeli airstrike earlier in the month on an Iranian diplomatic facility in Syria that resulted in the deaths of 12 individuals, including two senior Iranian generals belonging to the Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force.

Marco Rubio, the leading Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee from Florida, criticized the White House for allegedly disclosing Biden’s advice to Netanyahu not to retaliate and to consider it as a victory.

Rubio, speaking on “State of the Union” on Delaware News Hub, suggested that the White House’s intention was to appease those advocating for a cessation of hostilities in Gaza.

The contribution from AP writer Michael Weissenstein at the United Nations is acknowledged.