Intel minister: Syria nuclear raid ‘sharpens’ message to Iran

Intelligence Minister Israel Katz (Likud) says there is no fear of a Syrian reprisal following Israel’s confirmation of the raid on a nuclear reactor in Syria in 2007, while also warning Israel is prepared to take future action to prevent Iran from obtaining nukes.

“No. One should never say no, but Syria in its current state is not a state that can respond,” Katz tells Reshet TV.

“The fear of a Syrian retaliation then was far greater than today. Assad is fighting for survival, with Russian and Iranian backing. He has no interest in tussling with Israel…. The lessons have been learned,” he adds. “Assad knows full well about Israel’s [military] advantage, and the last thing he needs is a confrontation today over something that happened 11 years ago.”

Katz also says the strike sends a message to Iran.

Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, in his office in Tel Aviv, Israel, November 9, 2017. (AP/Dan Balilty)

“There’s also a message to Iran: There is the Begin doctrine which was introduced regarding Iraq,” says Katz, referring to the 1981 Israeli airstrikes on the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq. “The doctrine says that we will not allow anybody who threatens to destroy Israel to attain nuclear weapons.”

“If we reach the moment where Iran is certainly about to get nuclear weapons, the entire defense and intelligence establishment in Israel stands in favor of preventing it,” he adds.

Katz also says Israel hopes US President Donald Trump will change the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and prevent the Islamic Republic from obtaining nuclear weapons.

“The state of Israel makes clear, and I’m saying here in the clearest way, if it’s a case of a nuclear Iran or action, we will take action,” he says. “Israel won’t let Iran or any other state that threatens its existence to attain a nuclear capability.”

Katz says publishing information on the Syrian strike “sharpens that message.”

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