Israel will continue to act to prevent Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Tuesday afternoon, minutes after concluding a security cabinet meeting dealing with the diplomatic crisis with Russia over last week’s downing of a Russian spy plane by Syrian air defense missiles.
“We will do whatever is necessary to protect Israel’s security,” he says.
Addressing reporters at Ben Gurion Airport as he made his way to New York, Netanyahu says he spoke twice with Russian President Vladimir Putin and expressed his “sincere” condolences over the 15 Russian servicemen who died in the “tragic event.”
In the three years since Jerusalem and Moscow agreed to establish a so-called deconfliction mechanism to avoid clashes over Syrian skies, Israel has been “very successful” in thwarting the Islamic Republic’s effort to entrench itself in Syria, Netanyahu says.
“That doesn’t mean there weren’t exceptions, but by in large it has been a very great success,” he adds.
Netanyahu says that he and Putin agreed the Russian and Israeli military officials will meet soon to discuss the continuation of the deconfliction mechanism.
— Raphael Ahren