Outgoing Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot sits next to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a memorial for assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Israel should not take credit for attacks on Syria, Gadi Eisenkot, the outgoing IDF chief of staff, said Sunday evening, just hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel was responsible for the bombing of Iranian arms in Damascus over the weekend.
"I don't think Israel needs to take responsibility for strikes in Syria, as has been done in the past, [only] updating relevant parties," he said in an interview with Army Radio. On Saturday, Eisenkot was quoted by The New York Times as saying: "We struck thousands of targets without claiming responsibility or asking for credit."
Netanyahu's rare admission came at the opening of Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting, with Netanyahu also saying that the IDF has “succeeded impressively in stopping Iran's military buildup in Syria, and in this context the IDF has attacked hundreds of times Iranian and Hezbollah targets.”
"We began attacking systematically a number of times each week [in Syria]. Without making any statements. Under the radar," Eisenkot said.
Eisenkot will step down from his post on Tuesday, ending a term fraught with challenges. He will be replaced by Maj.-Gen Aviv Kochavi, currently the deputy chief of staff.
In the government, ministers give Eisenkot credit for keeping Iran at bay in Syria and stopping the flow of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Privately, Eisenkot speaks proudly of the IDF’s achievement in getting Hezbollah to dismantle its missile factories in Beirut, where it had planned to upgrade the accuracy and range of its massive arsenal.
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