IDF spokesperson: Iranian retaliation likely to come from Iraq, Yemen

In an interview given to the Saudi news website Elaph, Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman addressed Iran and the tactics deployed by the IDF in order to address the looming threat.

IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Hadi Zilberman (photo credit: IDF)
IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Hadi Zilberman
(photo credit: IDF)
Israel is monitoring Tehran’s movement in the region and expects that an Iranian attack could come from Iraq and Yemen, IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman told the Saudi news website Elaph
In an interview published on Friday, Zilberman addressed Iran and the tactics deployed by the IDF in order to respond to the threat, which he said is likely to arise from Iraq and Yemen.
Zilberman referred to Iraq and Yemen as Iran’s second circle after Lebanon and Syria, considered the first circle in its proxy conflict with Israel, and said that Israel has been monitoring the situation in both countries closely.
He noted that Iran has developed a wide range of capabilities in the area – and specifically in Iraq and Yemen – that include advanced drones and remote-guided missiles, which they manage to operate without detection, indicating “a great Iranian ability in this area.”
He stressed that everyone should be on high alert regarding the Iranian threat, which he described as a “powder keg liable to explode,” considering the many blows Iran has received in the past year without being able to properly respond.
These include the assassination of Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani, its sites continuously being targeted in Syria, the mysterious explosions in several of its nuclear facilities, the assassination of its top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, international sanctions and the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has had a devastating effect on the country.
Nearing the one-year mark since the assassination of Soleimani that took place on January 3, 2020, Zilberman noted that Iran may use the occasion to launch an offensive against Israel or the US, which are considered one entity in Iran’s eyes.
Asked about the incident of an Israeli Navy submarine being spotted crossing the Suez Canal earlier this week, Zilberman said he could not confirm the report but noted that the IDF operates freely in the Middle East and that Israeli submarines sail to “different places, far and near.”
Addressing various unprecedented recent operations attributed to the IDF, Zilberman said he considers 2020 a year of “security par excellence for the State of Israel.”
In this regard, he noted that the Jewish state has proven its ability to carry out targeted and smart operations, considering that the IDF has led more operations in the past year than usual and has received close to no response.
He added that Israel has no intention of stopping its efforts of preventing Iran from taking hold of areas in Syria and Lebanon, indicating that the extended array of anti-aircraft systems deployed in Syria is no obstacle for the IDF.
Asked about Israel’s involvement in Lebanon and the recent rising tension with Hezbollah, Zilberman avoided giving a direct answer but said that Israel knows about the current efforts being undertaken by Hezbollah and will know how to neutralize any weapon or technology of the terrorist group – by military means or otherwise.
Regarding recent cyberattacks carried out against Israel by Iranian hacker groups, Zilberman admitted that Iranian efforts on this front have increased and have succeeded somewhat – explaining that the Iranian hackers usually target civilian companies that work with the military – but stressed that the damage was insignificant. He did, however, hint at the possibility that 2021 will see even more attacks of this kind, as cyberattack warfare replaces the modern battlefield.
“Any calculations known to us today could change for an unknown reason,” Zilberman told Elaph when asked about a looming war, adding that the current echelon leading the IDF is innovative in its thinking about the future and its unknown threats, and is working hard to ensure that Israel will always be prepared.
On Monday, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi addressed the Iranian threat during a ceremony for exemplary soldiers, saying that Iran will pay a heavy price if any Israeli is targeted.
“We are hearing more and more threats against Israel coming from Iran,” he said. “If Iran and its partners... attack the State of Israel, they will [pay] a heavy price... I am simplifying things and describing the situation to our enemies as it is,” he added. “Our retaliation plans are prepared, and they have been practiced.”