Ex-official: Israel Targeted Hezbollah Army Chief; Iran Has Been Retaliating

Speaking to Army Radio, former National Security Adviser Uzi Arad says Netanyahu's cabinet must adopt a broader strategy in dealing with Tehran, that would take into account Iran's ability to strike back.

Former National Security Adviser Uzi Arad responded on Thursday to comments made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and according to which Iran was behind the attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, saying that Israel was not a "passive side" to the struggle against Iran and must do more to anticipate the responses.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu, apparently supported by detailed intelligence, immediately blamed Iran for the terror attack on Israelis in Bulgaria, that let eight people dead, possibly including a suspected suicide bomber.

"We're, to a large extent, the initiators, we hit Imad Mughniye, and, mainly, we're leading a struggle against Iran. We're not a passive side. And the other side is the defending, deterring, and attacking one," Arad told Army Radio on Thursday.

The former top security advisor added: "If Israel will respond in such a way, it will have to take into account that its response will be followed by a response. That's the dynamic."

"The price of an incident like yesterday's isn't just the tragedy and the loss of life, but the international effect that comes with it. These are administration prices, which can be downsized," he added.

According to Arad, these are not routine times, but a battle that can escalate, and Israel can cut down on the number of sites in which it is vulnerable – such as organized tours. "We can also reduce damages by cutting back on unnecessary things."

The former adviser told Army Radio that Israel was linked to attacks on Iranian nuclear sites and Hezbollah, and even explicitly admits to having a military option against Iran – one that it doesn't take off the table.

"Against all these, Iran can't stay disinterested, and it's natural that it or its proxies such as Hezbollah will try to commit such attacks and exact a price from Israel. Iranian officials have said themselves that response will, obviously come, of the kind they have been attempting already in Asia and Eastern Europe," Arad said.

As a result, the former national security adviser said, "Israel must continue its struggle, but must take its consequences into consideration, and that's part of the dynamics"

"Israel must manage the struggle, reduce the risks, and be prepared intelligence-wise," he added.

Arad's comments to Army Radio came after Former United States Ambassador to the UN John Bolton said on Wednesday that he believed Israel was poised to launch a direct attack on Iran in the wake of yesterdays terrorist bombing in Bulgaria.

Appearing on Fox News, Bolton said Netanyahus unequivocal accusation that Iran is responsible for the attack gives every indication that such an attack is in offing. Bolton went even further, saying that by not mentioning Hezbollah, Netanyahu was very clearly saying that Israel will not just respond proportionately but will go after several facilities of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

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Dr. Uzi Arad
Olivier Fitoussi