Netanyahu invokes 'war' on Iran at Warsaw summit, then quickly backtracks

US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and Senior Advisor Jared Kushner

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on Tuesday that Israel had carried out an artillery attack in Syria on Monday night.

Despite the large showing, a number of high-profile countries did not send their top representatives amid ongoing tension between the U.S. and Europe over Trump's decision to withdraw from a 2015 nuclear deal with the Iranian government.

Netanyahu - who has been trying to play up his diplomatic gains ahead of Israel's April election - has frequently hinted at warmer ties with Gulf Arab states.

Netanyahu said many Arab countries were following Oman's lead in moving toward more open interaction with Israel, "including at this conference".

Speaking during a visit to a naval base in the northern port of Haifa, Netanyahu said: "The missiles you see behind me can go very far, against any enemy, including Iran's proxies in our region" - an apparent reference to Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah movement.

Netanyahu expressed similar sentiments when he met earlier in the day with Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, telling him that the recent rapprochement between the two countries was "changing the world". "Now we say, this is a new era, for the future".

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Vice President Mike Pence is leading the USA delegation, accompanied by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House advisor Jared Kushner.

The conference opening on Wednesday evening was originally touted by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as focusing on Iran's regional actions, but organizers have since dialed down the emphasis on Tehran.

The controversy comes amid speculation about the goal of the meeting in Poland of top officials from 65 different countries-which also featured President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani calling for regime change in Iran while speaking at a rally outside the summit on behalf of, as Robert Mackey of The Intercept put it, "a cult-like group of Iranian exiles who pay him to represent them". "But Netanyahu and Gulf countries are eager to focus on Iran".

Wednesday's conference is co-hosted by the USA and Poland and its official focus is Mideast peace and security.

Germany and France decided not to send their foreign ministers, while the European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, is also not attending because of scheduling issues, an EU official told Reuters.

Netanyahu says he doesn't think the Trump administration's "Deal of the Century" peace plan will be discussed.

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