Biden cuts his beach weekend short and heads back to the White House to meet his national security team as Iran readies more than 100 cruise missiles and drones for Israel strike

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Written By Maya Cantina

President Joe Biden is cutting his weekend at the beach short and racing back to the White House to deal with spiraling tensions in the Middle East that could lead to a full-scale war.

Biden, 81, is set to leave Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, home on Saturday afternoon so he can meet his national security team just 24 hours after he said an Iranian strike on Israel would happen ‘sooner rather than later’.

He was due to stay until Sunday, but will now return to Washington D.C. following reports Tehran was moving more than 100 cruise missiles and drones to prepare for an assault.

The White House said Biden is set to ‘consult with his national security team about events in the Middle East’ – the day after he delivered a one-word warning to Tehran over possible strikes: ‘Don’t.’  

President Joe Biden is cutting his weekend at the beach short and heading back to the White House to deal with the spiraling tensions in the Middle East that could lead to a full-scale war

It is unclear if Biden received new information that forced him to quickly cut his trip short, as he had previously indicated belief that an Iranian attack was being readied before he departed on Friday evening.  

The Pentagon has already moved aircraft carriers into the Red Sea amid fears of a full-scale war, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant today to tell him he has ‘unwavering’ backing from the U.S. 

Austin reiterated ‘that Israel could count on full U.S. support to defend Israel against any attacks by Iran and its regional proxies’, in a statement made shortly after Biden returned from his beach trip. 

In response, Gallant said the nation is closely following ‘a planned attack’ from Iran. 

After issuing his one-word message to Iran not to strike Israel, Biden affirmed that the US was committed to supporting one of its oldest allies despite simmering tensions with Benjamin Netanyahu’s government over the war in Gaza. 

Iran has publicly threatened to hit back at Israel over an attack in Syria last week, which Tehran say was an Israeli airstrike on an Iranian diplomatic building in Damascus. 

The strike in Syria led to the deaths of seven members of the Revolutionary Guard, including two generals. 

Amid fears over a retaliatory attack from Tehran, reports indicated Iran was preparing its offensive as officials conceded that such a strike may be inevitable. 

Israeli army battle tanks move in an area along the border with the Gaza Strip and southern Israel on April 2, 2024

Israeli army battle tanks move in an area along the border with the Gaza Strip and southern Israel on April 2, 2024

Iran has reportedly readied more than 100 cruise missiles as part of an 'imminent' strike on Israel: Picture are long-range air defense system called Arman displayed during an unveiling ceremony in Tehran, Iran, on February 17, 2024

Iran has reportedly readied more than 100 cruise missiles as part of an ‘imminent’ strike on Israel: Picture are long-range air defense system called Arman displayed during an unveiling ceremony in Tehran, Iran, on February 17, 2024

Rescue workers search in the rubble of a building annexed to the Iranian embassy a day after an air strike in Damascus on April 2, 2024

Rescue workers search in the rubble of a building annexed to the Iranian embassy a day after an air strike in Damascus on April 2, 2024

Military officials briefed on the matter told both ABC News and CNN that the US has observed Iran readying at least 100 cruise missiles, indicating they could be prepared to attack.

ABC also reported that a large number of drones that could be used in an attack on Israel have also been readied by the nation. 

Two US officials, granted anonymity, told Politico that the Biden administration anticipates that if an attack comes, it will feature a mix of missiles and drone strikes. 

Neither official said they were confident Iran’s strikes wouldn’t result in a response from the US, but it is also believed that Iran would not seek to expand the crisis past its capabilities, they said.  

Pentagon officials said the US would beef up its presence in the region and the USS Dwight Eisenhower would be sent into the Red Sea in a warning to Tehran.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei vowed retribution in the wake of the Damascus attack, for which Tel-Aviv has yet to take responsibility, as he declared that Israel ‘must and shall be punished.’

Despite US efforts to show strength, White House national security spokesman John Kirby warned this week that an Iranian attack on Israel remained ‘viable.’ 

The escalation comes as Iran and Iranian-backed proxies have increased their presence in the Middle East in recent days.  

On Saturday, Iranian naval forces captured an Israeli-affiliated container ship in the strait of Hormuz, around 50 miles off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. 

The day prior, Hezbollah, an Iran-backed group in Lebanon, fired dozens of rockets at Israeli military positions, which it said was in retaliation to Israeli strikes on the border between the two nations. 

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei vowed retribution in the wake of the Damascus attack, as he declared that Israel 'must and shall be punished'

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei vowed retribution in the wake of the Damascus attack, as he declared that Israel ‘must and shall be punished’

Biden cut his weekend beach trip short to convene with his national security team. Pictured (L-R) Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan

Biden cut his weekend beach trip short to convene with his national security team. Pictured (L-R) Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan 

Since the Israel-Hamas war broke out on October 7, US officials say they have recorded over 150 attacks from Iran-backed proxies in Iraq and Syria on American forces in those countries. 

Following a strike in Jordan in January that killed three US servicemembers, the US military destroyed at least 85 targets in Iraq and Syria in a huge air bombardment.  

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