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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) sitting next to Yossi Cohen in 2015. Photo: gali Tibbon/Getty Images

President Biden met on Friday with the director of Israel's spy agency Mossad, Yossi Cohen, and discussed Iran, a source familiar with the details tells Axios.

Worth noting: The White House kept the meeting, first reported by Channel 12 news in Israel, a secret and didn't issue a statement.

  • The White House has not yet responded to questions about the talks.

Driving the news: Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday morning about the Mount Meron stampede. It was unclear whether the meeting with Cohen took place before or after that call.

  • A source familiar with the meeting said it wasn't planned in advance and was organized on short notice while Cohen was in Washington, D.C. for other purposes.
  • Netanyahu briefed Cohen before the conversation with Biden on messaging regarding Iran and received an update from him after the meeting, the source said.

Go deeper

Apr 30, 2021 - World

Biden calls Netanyahu to offer condolences over Mount Meron stampede

Police and worshippers at the site of the stampede. Photo: Ilia Yefimovich/picture alliance via Getty

President Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday to offer condolences and U.S. assistance following a deadly stampede that killed at least 45 worshippers, the White House said.

Driving the news: The stampede occurred on Thursday night as tens of thousands of mainly ultra-Orthodox Jews were participating in a celebration of the Lag B’Omer holiday at Mount Meron, a pilgrimage site in northern Israel. Several of those killed were American citizens.

Updated Apr 30, 2021 - World

At least 45 killed in stampede at large Israeli religious festival

Emergency workers gather at the scene after dozens of people were killed and others injured in a stampede in Meron, Israel.

At least 45 people have been killed and 150 hospitalized in a stampede at a large Jewish festival in northern Israel, the deadliest civilian disaster in the country's history, AP reports.

The latest: President Biden called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday to offer condolences on behalf of the United States for those killed at Lag B'Omer.

Apr 30, 2021 - World

Scoop: Biden won't reverse Trump's Western Sahara move, U.S. tells Morocco

A Moroccan soldier on a hilltop in Western Sahara. Photo: Fadel Senna/AFP via Getty

Secretary of State Tony Blinken told Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita in a phone call on Friday that the Biden administration would not reverse President Trump's recognition of Morocco's sovereignty over the Western Sahara, at least for the time being, two sources familiar with the call told me. 

Why it matters: Trump's recognition of the Western Sahara as part of Morocco reversed decades of U.S. policy regarding the disputed territory, and was part of a broader deal that included the renewal of diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel.

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