Netanyahu mocks top Iranian general: ‘Look at the state of your bases in Syria’
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Netanyahu mocks top Iranian general: ‘Look at the state of your bases in Syria’

PM warns Qassem Soleimani against ‘interfering’ in Israeli election after unconfirmed report the head of the al-Quds Force sought to strike Israel to bring down the premier

Composite: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Revolutionary Guards Gen. Qassem Soleimani (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90, Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
Composite: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Revolutionary Guards Gen. Qassem Soleimani (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90, Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu derisively warned top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani Wednesday to examine “the state of Iranian bases he is trying to establish in Syria” instead of “interfering in the [Israeli] elections.”

Netanyahu appeared to be responding to an unconfirmed report in a Kuwaiti paper according to which Soleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards al-Quds Force, told Iranian leaders that strikes deep inside Israeli territory could bring down Netanyahu in the April 9 vote.

According to the report in al-Jarida, during a meeting with the Supreme National Security Council in Tehran Monday, Soleimani said that Netanyahu will likely only seek to escalate tensions along the Israeli-Syrian border in order to boost his popularity in the elections.

He also allegedly called for a policy of firing three missiles in response to any Israeli airstrike in Syria.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards al-Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.(YouTube screenshot)

The report cited an unnamed “informed source” in Iran.

“Instead of intervening in the elections, Suleimani should look at the state of the Iranian bases he is trying to establish in Syria,” Netanyahu tweeted in an apparent response, referring to recent strikes by Israel targeting Iranian military infrastructure in Syria.

Netanyahu also vowed to “continue to fight against [Iran] as long as I am prime minister.”

Al-Jarida has been known to publish improbable-sounding stories about Israel, which have been promptly denied by involved parties.

On Sunday, Israel reportedly conducted a rare daylight missile attack on Iranian targets in Syria. In response, Iran fired a surface-to-surface missile from Syria at the northern Golan Heights, which was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system over the Mount Hermon ski resort, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Hours later, in the predawn hours of Monday morning, the Israel Air Force launched retaliatory strikes on Iranian targets near Damascus and on the Syrian air defense batteries that fired upon the attacking Israeli fighter jets, the army said.

An explosion, reportedly during Israeli airstrikes near Damascus, Syria, on January 21, 2019. (screen capture: YouTube)

Twenty-one people were killed in the Israeli raids in Syria early Monday, 12 of them Iranian fighters, a Britain-based Syrian war monitor said on Tuesday.

According to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 12 of those killed were members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps; six were Syrian military fighters; and the other three were other non-Syrian nationals.

Israel in recent years has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria against targets linked to Iran, which alongside its proxies and Russia is fighting on behalf of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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