Israel will continue to preempt enemy plans against the Jewish state, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Sunday, all but publicly confirming the country’s involvement in an airstrike in Syria last month that left at least seven Hezbollah and Iranian operatives dead.
“We have proven that nobody is immune from our intention to foil attacks against us. Thus we have acted and thus we will continue to act,” he said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.
The comments constitute the strongest hint yet by a senior Israeli official that Israel had carried out the January 18 strike on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights that killed six Hezbollah fighters and an Iranian brigadier general, Mohammed Ali Allahdadi.
Hezbollah and Iran have spent the weeks since the strike threatening grave consequences for Israel.
On Wednesday a Hezbollah cell fired five anti-tank Kornet rockets at a convoy of IDF infantry commanders driving along the northern border, killing two soldiers and wounding seven.
“Today the cabinet will be briefed on recent events on our northern border,” Netanyahu said at the start of the meeting. “On Friday, the defense minister [Moshe Ya’alon] and I visited our soldiers who were wounded in the terrorist attack on the northern border. I was very impressed by their determination and their desire to rejoin their comrades at the front and defend our country.”
The exchanges of fire on the northern border last month highlighted Iran’s growing role in the Syria conflict and, through its proxy Hezbollah, on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.
Israel was witnessing “Iran’s attempts to open another front against us on the Golan Heights, in addition to the front it is operating against us in southern Lebanon,” Netanyahu said Sunday.
Lebanese media reported over the weekend that a top Iranian general met with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah late last month in the wake of the January 18 airstrike.
Qassem Soleimani, the shadowy chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force, also visited the graves of Hezbollah fighters killed in the Golan Heights strike.
Among the dead in the Golan strike was Jihad Mughniyeh, son of the late Hezbollah military chief Imad Mughniyeh, who was wanted in Europe and the US for terror activities and was assassinated in Syria in February 2008 in an operation believed to have been conducted by Israeli and possibly other Western intelligence agencies.
- Israel & the Region
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- Benjamin Netanyahu
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- Hassan Nasrallah
- Mohammed Allahdadi
- Jihad Mughniyeh
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- Israeli strike on Syria
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