As Iran stepped up it threats against Israel, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned Tehran on Friday not to even consider an attack on the Jewish state, which he said has never been better prepared to counter Iran.
“I would suggest to all those on our northern border to think again about what they are doing,” Liberman said, hours after an Iranian general warned that Iran’s “hands are on the trigger and missiles are ready.”
“It’s seriously not worth it for you to test the IDF, nor the state of Israel,” said Liberman who was touring the Gaza border. “We are ready for every scenario. We are ready for a multi-front scenario and I don’t remember a time when we were so prepared and so ready, both the army and the people of Israel.”
His comments came after the vice commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned Israel on Friday that its airbases are “within reach,” in remarks apparently reacting to Israel’s publication on Tuesday of a map showing five Tehran-controlled bases in Syria.
“Israel: Don’t trust in your airbases; they’re within reach,” Hossein Salami wrote on Twitter, also making similar comments in a fiery speech.
Israel, said Salami, was living “in the dragon’s mouth.” Both northern and western Israel were “in the range of our missiles,” he threatened, in a speech given in Tehran.
“Wherever you are in the occupied land, you’ll be under fire from us, from east and west. You became arrogant. If there’s a war, the result will be your complete elimination,” he said.
“Your soldiers and civilians will flee, and you won’t survive. And you’ll have nowhere to run, except to fall into the sea.”
Earlier on Twitter he warned Israel should not rely on outside help.
“Don’t have hope in US and UK; when they arrive, you’re not there… Smallest goal will be your existence. You can’t bear. When you escape, you’ll have no way but to the sea.”
#Iran's #IRGC vice-commander warns #Israel: Don't trust in your airbases; they're within reach. Don't have hope in #US & #UK; when they arrive, you're not there…Smallest goal will be your https://t.co/azci9gxyTB can't bear. When you escape, you'll have no way but to the sea. pic.twitter.com/Xyqa0qLmiC
— Abas Aslani (@AbasAslani) April 20, 2018
#Iran's #IRGC vice-commander Salami warns enemies: Hands are on the trigger & missiles are ready & will be launched at any moment that enemy has a sinister plot… North & west of #Israel are at the intersection of fire; you will not escape. You live in the dragon's mouth. pic.twitter.com/wwKdXfZMrk
— Abas Aslani (@AbasAslani) April 20, 2018
Iranian officials have been making increasingly bellicose remarks following an April 9 strike on the T-4 air base, near Palmyra in central Syria, which killed at least seven members of the IRGC, including the head of its drone program, Col. Mehdi Dehghan.
Iran, Syria, Russia and some US officials have all said explicitly that Israel was responsible for the strike.
Israeli officials refuse to comment on the matter, though The New York Times quoted an Israeli military official as acknowledging that the Jewish state was behind the attack.
Amid the escalating rhetoric, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made several threats against Iran in recent days.
On Friday, he told a festive post-Independence Day cabinet meeting, “We hear the threats from Iran. The IDF and the security forces are ready for any development. We will fight whoever tries to harm us. We will not shy away from the price and we will exact a price from those who want to hurt us. The IDF is ready for the job and the people will stand strong.”
On Tuesday, ahead of Israel’s Independence Day and in an apparent effort at deterrence, Israeli media was provided by the IDF with a map showing five Iranian-controlled bases in Syria, which would apparently constitute potential targets for an Israeli response should Iran carry out any kind of attack.
On Monday, a spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry said the country’s retaliation against Israel will come “sooner or later” and that Jerusalem will “regret its misdeeds.”
Israel’s defense establishment — the country’s various intelligence services and the military — believes an Iranian revenge attack would likely be carried out by the IRGC’s air force, with surface-to-surface missiles or armed drones, The Times of Israel has learned.
That would be a departure from previous clashes between Israel and Iran, in which Tehran’s reprisals were carried out through proxies, like the Hezbollah terrorist group, rather than by its own Revolutionary Guard Corps.