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Biden returns to D.C. a day early to a Situation Room huddle on Iran-Israel row

President Biden briefly spoke to reporters about Iran in the South Court auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Friday.
Anna Moneymaker
Getty Images
President Biden briefly spoke to reporters about Iran in the South Court auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Friday.

Updated April 13, 2024 at 5:55 PM ET

President Biden returned to the White House a day early from his house in Rehoboth Beach, Del., to meet with his national security team as Iran launched attacks on Israel.

Biden had been scheduled to return to Washington on Sunday but instead returned on Saturday afternoon to huddle with his top advisers in the White House Situation Room.

Biden on Friday had said an attack from Iran against Israel could happen sooner rather than later, and warned Tehran against the attack.

"Don't," he said, when asked what his message was to Iran.

"We are devoted to the defense of Israel. We will support Israel. We will help defend Israel. And Iran will not succeed," Biden said.

Here's who Biden met with in the Situation Room

Israel has been on alert for a possible attack from Iran after an airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria, two weeks ago.

Iran said the strike killed two of its generals and several other members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force. Iran said Israel was responsible; Israel has neither confirmed nor denied being behind the attack.

The White House said Biden was meeting with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Charles Q. Brown, CIA Director Bill Burns, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, national security adviser Jake Sullivan, and others. Vice President Harris joined by secure video, the White House said.

Biden has vowed to support Israel

Biden spoke to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a week ago about the threats that Iran had made against Israel.

"As I told Prime Minister Netanyahu, our commitment to Israel's security against these threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad. Let me say it again: ironclad," Biden said at a press conference on Wednesday. "We're going to do all we can to protect Israel's security."

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.
Franco Ordoñez is a White House Correspondent for NPR's Washington Desk. Before he came to NPR in 2019, Ordoñez covered the White House for McClatchy. He has also written about diplomatic affairs, foreign policy and immigration, and has been a correspondent in Cuba, Colombia, Mexico and Haiti.