The Iranian regime is set to increase funding for terrorist organizations bent on Israel’s destruction, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Tuesday from Israel’s northern border, days after the army said it had run drills in the area for a large-scale battle against Iran-backed groups.
Speaking during a visit to the IDF’s Northern Command headquarters near the Lebanese border, Netanyahu said that Israel was watching its borders closely and would strike at any entity that threatened its security.
“What we have said all along has turned out to be accurate,” Netanyahu said referring to his opposition to the nuclear agreement between world powers and Tehran. “The money that will flow to Iran-sponsored terrorist organizations will be used for one stated purpose — to destroy Israel.”
“I’m here to keep a close eye on the IDF’s preparedness for these threats. We are prepared for any scenario. Those who try to harm us, we will strike at them,” he said.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot took part in the visit as well.
“I would like to commend the IDF’s commanders and soldiers in general and the Northern Command’s soldier in particular, for securing the borders and keeping them quiet despite everything that is happening across the border. This professionalism is what enables thousands of hikers to enjoy the north of the country,” Ya’alon said.
“All is not quiet on the Golan front, and those who seek for it not to be quiet are the Iranians, who are trying to send proxies to conduct terror attacks against us,” said Ya’alon. “Representatives of the [Iranian] Revolutionary Guards are in fact waiting for the implementation of this bad deal with world powers, in order to bring more money to Hezbollah, more to other terror groups – in both the Golan Heights and the Palestinian arena.”
He added that the military is prepared – and has until now been successful – in not allowing the disruption of Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan Heights.
According to Hebrew media reports Sunday, the IDF is preparing for a possible ground operation on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights in the event of sustained rocket strikes or coordinated terror attacks against Israel either by Sunni jihadists or Hezbollah operatives.
The number of Islamists flooding into the area close to the border with Israel has the IDF on high alert, Channel 2 reported Sunday, adding that the military held a large-scale drill last week simulating a possible advance into Syria and the evacuation of Israeli civilians from border communities.
The drill included preparation for a scenario in which Islamist forces launch a sophisticated, multi-pronged attack on Israeli troops, similar to attacks against Egyptian security forces in Sinai in recent months, the report added.
The IDF is also planning for a possible Hezbollah offensive directed by Iran, with an IDF officer saying that hundreds of Hezbollah members are present in the Golan, and that Tehran has been behind several recent attacks against Israel. Israeli officials have routinely raised concerns over the presence of Iranian and Hezbollah fighters using positions in the Syrian Golan, partially held by rebel forces, to attack Israel.
“It’s clear that Iran is behind all of the terror attacks here [in the Golan] in the past two years,” the IDF officer said Sunday during a briefing with reporters. “The Iranians are using the border – they establish units – whether it’s [Jihad] Mughniyeh, [Samir] Kuntar, and more – to carry out [the attacks].”
According to Channel 2, Hezbollah has upped its presence on the Lebanese side of the border with Israel, joining the Lebanese Army on patrols and exercises, despite limitations set on the terror group’s movements in south Lebanon after the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
There have been a number of cross-border incidents on the Israel-Syria front over the past few years as the civil war has raged on, including a number of rocket attacks believed to have been carried out by rebel groups or Assad forces.
Israel is said to be behind a number of air raids against targets on Syrian soil aimed at preventing Hezbollah from acquiring advanced weaponry. The IDF says Iran routinely tries to deliver weapons to Hezbollah via Syria, suggesting that not all shipments are successfully intercepted.