The deputy head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards threatened Israel with destruction on Friday, saying, “the finger is on the trigger and the missiles are ready at any given moment that the enemy conducts something against us, and we will launch them.”
Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami was speaking before Friday prayers in Tehran.
Referring to the American presence in Syria, Salami said that “we have learned the formula of how to overcome the enemy and can harm his strategic interests anywhere."
As he put it, “The United States has been defeated in Syria because the Americans did not have a clear strategy and policy, and every action they take makes them look ridiculous, like the operation they did a few days ago, because they have no strategy. Today we are much stronger than ever in all areas.”
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Addressing Israel, Salami said: “We know you very well, you are exposed to great harm because you have no depth, you are surrounded from every direction and you have nowhere to flee except to fall into the sea. Don’t put faith in your military bases because they are in firing range and we can attack them and prevent them [from operating].”
He added: “You are living from the mouth of the snake and the resistance today is much stronger that what it was in the past. Don’t think that the new wars will be like the Second Lebanon War. You saw what the axis of resistance did to the heretic groups [in Syria] and how we succeeded in uprooting them. Don’t place your hope in the United States and Britain; when they arrive you will already have disappeared, so don’t make incorrect calculations.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to the threats from Iran, saying, “We are certain of our capabilities to protect ourselves with our own power.” Netanyahu was speaking at a special cabinet meeting at Independence Hall in Tel Aviv in honor of Israel’s 70th birthday.
"Israel’s soldiers are prepared for any development and we will fight anyone who tries to harm us," Netanyahu said. “We will not be deterred by the price, and those who want to kill us will pay the price. The IDF is ready for its mission, and the people will rise up to it.”
On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Israel targeted an advanced Iranian air-defense system at Syria's T4 base the week before, in addition to attacking drone assets. Haaretz has reported that the strike apparently targeted armaments aside from the drones that could have reduced the Israel Air Force's freedom of action in Syrian airspace.
Earlier in the week, a senior Israeli military official admitted to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman that Israel targeted T4, adding that "it was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets - both facilities and people."
According to The Wall Street Journal, Iran began bolstering air defenses following an escalation triggered when Iran sent an armed drone into Israeli airspace in February. Israel shot down the aircraft and retaliated with strikes in Syria, during which an Israeli F-16 was downed.
The Israeli official told the New York Times that the incident "opened a new period," adding that "this is the first time we saw Iran do something against Israel - not by proxy."