PM warns Iran, Hamas not to tangle with IAF’s ‘tremendous firepower’

IAF Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin says Israeli jets have been operating on five fronts in recent months.

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December 27, 2017 19:50
PM warns Iran, Hamas not to tangle with IAF’s ‘tremendous firepower’

An Israeli Air Force F-35 fighter jet flies during an aerial demonstration at a graduation ceremony for Israeli airforce pilots at the Hatzerim air base in southern Israel December 29, 2016.. (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran and Hamas on Wednesday not to act against the Jewish state, as it has the strongest air force in the region, with the ability to reach targets at all distances.

“The air force is as its peak today, with the best tools, technologies, planes and pilots in the world. With defensive and offensive capabilities and tremendous firepower, the air force has the ability to reach short distances and faraway destinations as required,” Netanyahu said at an Israel Air Force Flight Academy graduation ceremony at the Hatzerim Air Base outside Beersheba.

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Thirty-six officers, including one woman, received their wings after graduating from the three-year pilots course on Wednesday. The ceremony was attended by Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and IAF Commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin.

“We are meeting major challenges in the north, in the south and in the east. On all the fronts there are centers and branches of radical Islam that have already caused a heavy calamity in our region, but nowt to our country. We are an island in this stormy region and have a clear policy of protecting our security,” the prime minister said.

Turning to the threat on the northern border, Netanyahu warned that Israel “will not allow the forces of the Iranian army to establish themselves in Syria in order to harm us. We will prevent the production of accurate and lethal weapons aimed at us.”

Israeli officials have repeatedly voiced concern over the growing Iranian presence on the border and the smuggling of sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah from Iran to Lebanon via Syria, stressing that both are redlines for the Jewish state.

Israel has carried out at least 100 strikes targeting Hezbollah terrorists, weapons convoys and infrastructure in Syria since January 2013, and dozens more, including a recent strike on an Iranian base outside Syria’s capital Damascus, have been attributed to the Jewish state.

In a message to leaders in the Gaza Strip, Netanyahu said that it is up to them whether there will be a state of calm there. Dozens of rockets have been fired from the Hamas-run enclave since US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, leading the IAF to strike some 40 Hamas targets in the Strip.

“We want the population to live its life quietly and calmly, but it is up to Gaza to decide whether there will be a state of calm in Gaza. We will not allow or tolerate an escalation from Hamas or from any other terrorist element. We will use all means to defend Israel’s sovereignty and security,” Netanyahu said.

Eisenkot warned that Israel faces intensifying threats “from the north to the south,” and said the strength of the IAF is a crucial component of the nation’s deterrence.

“We have a powerful army and a powerful and accurate air force. The strength of the IAF rests primarily on the soldiers and commanders of the force – those who reach the limit of their capabilities and fulfill their mission to the end.”

Addressing the graduates, Norkin said that they would be joining a team that has been operating on five fronts in recent months. The air force, he said, “expresses the aerial power that effectively fulfills Israel’s strategic goals,” and will continue to receive advanced weapons to retain its place in the forefront of aerial technology.

Liberman, who noted that the ceremony took place 35 years after the start of the First Lebanon War, said that the technological breakthroughs the country has seen over the past decade have changed all the old conventional understandings.

The IAF, he said, “has become one of the best and most advanced air forces in the world. If God forbid another war erupts in the north, the result will be much more impressive. In the coming years, we are going to face some challenges we have never dealt with before.”

Pilots in the Israeli Air Force celebrate receiving their wings (credit: Chaim Tzach/ GPO)

“We want the population to live its life quietly and calmly, but it is up to Gaza to decide whether there will be a state of calm in Gaza. We will not allow or tolerate an escalation from Hamas or from any other terrorist element. We will use all means to defend Israel’s sovereignty and security,” Netanyahu said.

Eisenkot warned that Israel faces intensifying threats “from the north to the south,” and said the strength of the IAF is a crucial component of the nation’s deterrence.

“We have a powerful army and a powerful and accurate air force. The strength of the IAF rests primarily on the soldiers and commanders of the force – those who reach the limit of their capabilities and fulfill their mission to the end.”

Addressing the graduates, Norkin said that they would be joining a team that has been operating on five fronts in recent months. The air force, he said, “expresses the aerial power that effectively fulfills Israel’s strategic goals,” and will continue to receive advanced weapons to retain its place in the forefront of aerial technology.

Liberman, who noted that the ceremony took place 35 years after the start of the First Lebanon War, said that the technological breakthroughs the country has seen over the past decade have changed all the old conventional understandings.

The IAF, he said, “has become one of the best and most advanced air forces in the world. If God forbid another war erupts in the north, the result will be much more impressive. In the coming years, we are going to face some challenges we have never dealt with before.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu addresses pilots in the Israeli Air Force as they recieve their wings (credit: Chaim Tzach/ GPO)

Addressing the graduates, Norkin said that they would be joining a team that has been operating on five fronts in recent months. The air force, he said, “expresses the aerial power that effectively fulfills Israel’s strategic goals,” and will continue to receive advanced weapons to retain its place in the forefront of aerial technology.

Liberman, who noted that the ceremony took place 35 years after the start of the First Lebanon War, said that the technological breakthroughs the country has seen over the past decade have changed all the old conventional understandings.

The IAF, he said, “has become one of the best and most advanced air forces in the world. If God forbid another war erupts in the north, the result will be much more impressive. In the coming years, we are going to face some challenges we have never dealt with before.”


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