Anyone who tries to harm Israel will taste “the deadly strength of the IDF,” Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz warned on Wednesday.
“We are at a time when security threats are often heard in Israel. These are testament to a mistaken estimation of our powers and capabilities,” said Gantz, speaking at the annual memorial to the casualties of the Golani Brigade.
“In the face of the threats at our doorstep, we are poised and prepared along the borders of the country,” said Gantz. “IDF soldiers and commanders are among the best and boldest in the world.”
Gantz’s words came after statements made earlier on Wednesday by Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, who indicated that Iran considers threats by Israel to bomb its nuclear installations as a propaganda drive and not a genuine signal of imminent attack.
Salehi said that while it is Iran’s responsibility to take seriously Israeli threats of military action, “Israel is not in a position to do such a thing.”
“If they really wanted to take such a step, they would not make so much noise about it,” Salehi said.
Iran’s supreme spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered his country’s elite Quds Force to increase its activity against Western countries who called for the toppling of Syrian President Bashar Assad, The (London) Telegraph reported on Wednesday. According to a report by Western intelligence agencies, Iran “could not be passive” when faced the ongoing events in Syria.
Israel’s Channel 10 News claimed on Monday night that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “is determined to attack Iran before the US elections,” and that Israel is now “closer than ever” to a strike designed to thwart Iran’s nuclear drive.
The report added that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak believe President Barack Obama would have no choice but to give backing for an Israeli attack before the US presidential elections in November.
There is considerable opposition to an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, the report noted — with President Shimon Peres, the army’s chief of the General Staff and top generals, the intelligence community, opposition leader Shaul Mofaz, “and of course the Americans” all lined up against Israeli action at this stage.