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Israeli leaders warn off Iran amid fears of reprisal attack

‘Whoever hurts us, we will hurt them,’ Netanyahu says at event marking IDF’s 70th anniversary

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Israel Defense Forces, at the Armored Corps memorial at Latrun, on May 7, 2018. (Screen capture: YouTube)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Israel Defense Forces, at the Armored Corps memorial at Latrun, on May 7, 2018. (Screen capture: YouTube)

With the threat of an Iranian attack looming in the north, Israeli leaders warned Monday that any strike on Israel will be met with a decisive response.

“Whoever hurts us, we will hurt them. The enemies who threaten us with destruction should know that they will encounter an iron wall,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a ceremony marking 70 years of the Israel Defense Forces.

“They cannot overcome us and they are putting themselves in grave danger,” he added.

Referring directly to Iran’s military efforts in Syria, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot said the army must be ready for “any scenario.”

“The volatility and complexity in various arenas, the efforts by our enemies to get stronger and Iran’s attempts to deepen its grasp near our borders — all of these require from us initiative and determination and to strengthen our preparation and readiness for any scenario,” he said.

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot speaks at a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Israel Defense Forces, at the Armored Corps memorial at Latrun, on May 7, 2018. (Screen capture: YouTube)

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and President Reuven Rivlin, who both spoke at the event, also said Israel will not cowed by any threat against it.

“We are a peace-seeking, but resolute and determined people. We learned not to underestimate any threat and not to surrender to anyone,” Liberman said.

Their remarks came a day after Israeli defense officials warned that Iran was planning to retaliate to reported Israeli strikes against in Syria by having its proxies fire missiles at military targets in northern Israel in the near future.

Earlier Monday, Iran’s army chief of staff warned the regime would respond to any Israeli aggression “at an appropriate time.”

Tehran vowed revenge after the T-4 army base in Syria was struck in an air raid on April 9, killing at least seven members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The strike was widely attributed to Israel, though Jerusalem refused to comment on it. T-4 was the base from which Israel said Iran launched an attack drone into Israel in February. Late last month, a second strike, allegedly conducted by Israel, against an Iranian-controlled base in northern Syria was said to have killed more than two dozen Iranian soldiers.

Last month, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Israel was prepared to strike the Iranian homeland. “If they attack Tel Aviv, we will strike Tehran,” he said.

On Sunday, all of Israel’s nightly news broadcasts reported that the Israeli military and intelligence services had identified preliminary efforts by Iran in Syria to carry out its reprisal, using its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Hezbollah terrorist group, and local Shiite militias to launch a barrage of precision-guided missiles, likely at Israeli military targets in the north.

Earlier on Sunday evening, Israel’s security cabinet held a three-and-a-half-hour session to discuss recent developments in the region, including the tensions with Iran in Syria and the upcoming decision by Trump regarding the nuclear deal.

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