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Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett confirmed on Tuesday that the Hebrew state will continue its operations in Syria until Iran “leaves” it, indicating that Tehran could face a kind of Vietnam war, after a series of raids attributed to the Israeli army on Syrian soil.
“Iran has nothing to do with Syria (…) and we will not stop before they (the Iranians) leave Syria,” Bennett said in an interview with the Israeli “Kan 11” television channel, without explicitly announcing his country’s responsibility for raids attributed to Syrian government media and the observatory. Syrian human rights to Israel.
At least 14 Iranian fighters and Iraqi groups loyal to them were killed in raids that targeted Monday night sites in the Deir Ezzor Governorate in eastern Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Tuesday.
Since April 21, the observatory and Syrian government media have reported at least six strikes attributed to Israel on Iranian sites or groups close to Iran, including the Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas, in Syria.
Hezbollah and Iran are helping the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his war against fighters of armed factions and jihadists.
Bennett said that Iran had “entered” Syria in the context of the war that has been going on in this country since 2011 and is seeking to “concentrate” on the Israeli borders in order to “threaten” cities such as “Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa.”
“Iran has become a burden. Previously (the Iranians) were a source of strength for the Syrians, they helped Assad against ISIS, but they became a burden,” the Israeli minister added, calling on Tehran to focus on managing the crisis caused by the outbreak of the new Corona virus in Iran rather than continuing its “adventure”. Terrorist. ”
Bennett, who leads the right-wing radical alliance (right), was appointed defense minister in the fall of 2019, but he may lose this bag in the coming days.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his opponent in the elections, Benny Gantz, reached an agreement to share power for the next three years.
Gantz, the former chief of staff, said he would take over the defense portfolio for the first 18 months of the next government, before replacing Netanyahu at the head.
Bennett made it clear that he feared the presence of pro-Iranian forces in southern Syria, especially in the Golan, of which Israel would occupy part.
“Within a year, we can wake up to tens of thousands or twenty thousand missiles that threaten us. For them (the Iranians), it will be an adventure and they will be a thousand kilometers from their land (…) but it will be + their Vietnam” in some way, “he said.
– missiles –
Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria in 2011, Israel has launched hundreds of strikes in this country against the Syrian army as well as against Iranian and Hezbollah fighters.
Israel accuses Iran of developing a precision missile program from Lebanon, which requires the transportation of strategic equipment via Syria. Israeli military officials believe that these missiles could do more harm to Israel than those caused by ordinary missiles.
“It seems that there has been an increase (in Israeli operations) in the last two weeks, but this is a continuation of an existing trend,” said Yoram Schweitzer, a researcher at the National Institute for Security Research in Tel Aviv.
Schweitzer told AFP on Tuesday that “these operations” intensified either “in response to an acceleration” in the activities of Hezbollah and Iran, or “because some believe that with the repercussions (of the epidemic) of the new Corona virus and the economic crisis (in Iran), the timing is appropriate to increase” the pressure . “But it may be related to these two factors together.”
© 2020 AFP