(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Iran is in the midst of an effort to arm Hezbollah and Hamas, and Israel will not tolerate the transfer of advanced weaponry to its enemies, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Sunday, a day after a report by Al Jazeera said the Israel Air Force struck Assad regime military bases housing long-range missiles in Syria.
Addressing an audience that had gathered to mark Israel’s 67th Independence Day at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Ya’alon said that “Iran is continuing to try to arm Hezbollah, including during these current days, and it is aspiring to equip the Lebanese terrorist organization with advanced and precise weapons.”
Ya’alon said that Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps personnel and Hezbollah are seeking to smuggle weapons “in every way and through every route, while being aware of the redlines set by the State of Israel, and that Israel has no intention of compromising over them. We will not allow the transfer of quality weapons to terrorist organizations, chief among them Hezbollah, and we will know how to reach those who send them [the weapons] at any time and place. We will not allow Iran and Hezbollah to set up terrorist infrastructure on our border with Syria, and we will know how to place our hands on anyone who threatens Israeli civilians, along the borders, or far from them.”
Ya’alon also addressed Iran’s arms-smuggling efforts in Gaza, saying, “The terrorist octopus from Tehran is trying to arm Hamas and the other terror organizations in the Gaza Strip with weapons, and seeking to rebuild its military force. We have nothing against the residents of the Strip who wish to live and make a living, but we will not allow attempts to smuggle [weapons] via the sea or land, and we will not tolerate [rocket] fire at Israel,” he said.
Operation Protective Edge last summer has proven how fragile and complex Israel’s reasonable security is, Ya’alon said, adding that Israel’s relatively stable situation should not be taken for granted.
“It is the product of the right maneuvering of the ship, responsibility, and sound judgment. It is also the outcome of the IDF being the strongest, most deterring, advanced and highest quality military in the Middle East,” he said.
Ya’alon described Iran as the most dangerous instigator of instability in the Middle East.
“Its recent actions in Yemen, against a pro-Western regime, prove that the terrorist rule in Tehran continues to deceive the world.”
The defense minister issued a warning against an approaching nuclear deal between the international community and Iran over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, an agreement he described as “bad and dangerous.”
“It will provide the Iranian regime with breathing space and international legitimacy. Instead of making things harder for Iran until it stops its nuclear program, the West is allowing it to come back, through the main door, to the family of nations, to be a nuclear threshold state, and to continue to spread terrorism throughout the whole world, including in the countries of the free world, while publicly calling for Israel to be erased from the map,” Ya’alon said.
IAF fighter jets struck Syrian military bases housing long-range missiles on Friday, the Qatari Al Jazeera satellite television network said on Saturday.
According to the report, the bases, near the Syrian-Lebanese border, belong to Assad regime brigades that possess weapons such as Scud missiles.
The attacks allegedly targeted multiple targets in the area.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office said on Saturday, “We do not comment on foreign reports.”