Military leaders in Iran threatened to “annihilate” Israel in remarks made over the weekend as tensions between the two countries increase over the ongoing civil war in Syria.
Abdolrahim Mousavi, the head of Iran’s army, warned during a ceremony in Tehran that any “acts of war” against Iran would result in offensive military action, the Telegraph reported.
“Hands are on the trigger and missiles are ready and will be launched at any moment that the enemy tries to carry out its sinister plot against (our) lands,” Tasnim news agency quoted Mousavi as saying.
Mousavi’s comments came a day after Iranian Brigadier General Hossein Salami also issued a threat and said Israel could be destroyed if tensions between the two countries escalate to war.
“Salami added Israel would ‘fade away’ in the next 25 years despite the support it receives from the United States,” the Telegraph reported.
“If any war happens, it will definitely be followed by your annihilation,” Salami said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to the threat by saying Israel is prepared for any scenario.
“We hear the threats from Iran,” Netanyahu said. “[Israeli Defense Forces] fighters and the security branches are ready for any development.”
“We will fight anyone who tries to harm us,” Netanyahu said.
The Telegraph reported:
Since 2013, Israel has carried out more than 100 airstrikes in Syria, primarily targeting the Iranian-funded Lebanese militia group Hezbollah and military convoys, but since the beginning of this year Israel expanded its involvement to increasingly target Iran directly.
A missile strike earlier this month, which killed seven Iranian military advisors from the country’s elite Quds Force in the Syrian city of Homs, has been neither confirmed nor denied by Israel’s government.
But, according to the Telegraph’s report, a senior Israeli military official told the New York Times that Israel had targeted a Syrian base known as T4.
“It was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets – both facilities and people,” the official told the Times.
The Wall Street Journal also reported on the Israeli military attack on T4, which included using drones to protect Israeli jets carrying out strikes in Syria from Iranian anti-aircraft weaponry, according to the Telegraph.
“Tel Aviv will be punished for its aggressive action,” Bahram Ghassemi, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, told the local media last week. “The occupying Zionist regime will, sooner or later, receive an appropriate response to its actions.”
Iranian Foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a television interview with CBS that further Israeli sorties in Syria would have “consequences” but cast doubt on that the tensions between Iran and Israel would reach war status.
“I do not believe that we are headed towards regional war but I do believe that, unfortunately, Israel has continued its violations with international law, hoping to be able to do it with impunity because of the U.S. support and trying to find smokescreens to hide behind,” Zarif said.
“The easiest answer would be to these acts of aggression, to stop these incursions,” Zarif said.
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