A delegation of Russian officials that arrived in Israel this week did so in an attempt to prevent a planned Israeli attack on Iranian missile factories in southern Lebanon and Syria, the Saudi daily ASharq Al-Awsat reported on Saturday.
According to the report, the Russian delegation headed by the head of Russia's security council, Nikolai Patrushev, met with the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah on Friday, and said that their visit came after talks with senior Israeli officials about the fear of Iranian influence in the region.
The report added that sources familiar with the subject said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the topic with Russian President Putin at the end of the month and threatened an Israeli attack on Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria and Lebanon.
- Netanyahu tells Putin: Iranian missile factories in Lebanon are already in progress, we won't accept this threat
- U.S. warns: Syria's Assad developing new chemical weapons, we may take action
- Israeli threats to strike Lebanon missile factory not intended to provoke war, but to distance it
According to the same sources, Russia decided to send Patrushev to the region to assess the situation and understand Israel's concerns, especially in view of Iran's opposition to Russia's request to withdraw fighters from southern Syria.
A senior Israeli official said that during the meeting it was "agreed to set up a working group for dealing with the treat of terror, especially ahead of the World Cup." They also noted that "regional stability is important to those parties that want coordination on security issues to continue."
Netanyahu and Putin met earlier this week in Moscow. After the meeting, the prime minister said that the question at hand was "whether Iran will be based in Syria or that this process will be halted." According to him "We also talked abotu Lebanon, I told him that accurate ewapons are a serious threat that we are not prepared to accept, and if we have to act we will act."
According to Netanyahu, Iranian missile factories are currently undre construction. "Israel is not trying to escalate, but its interests require readiness of the IDF and security forces, and we are ready for a political solution," he added. "The Russians understand our position and the seriousness with which we relate to these threats."