The secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic will definitely punish Israel for the air strike on the Syrian T-4 airbase near Homs, in which several Iranian officers were killed, Iranian affiliated PressTV boadcasting agency reported.
"The Israeli regime's aggression against Syria is a breach of this country's national sovereignty and territorial integrity and runs counter to all international regulations and principles," he said in a news conference which was broadcast on state television. "When a regime assumes the right to violate another country's airspace in a planned move and also to target forces fighting with terrorism, it should have definitely considered its consequences and retaliatory reactions before," Shamkhani emphasized.However, the timing and other specifics were unclear as of yet, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council added. "The punitive measures of the Islamic Republic of Iran are definite but when, how and under what circumstances this will happen is in the hands of the Islamic Republic of Iran."Reiterating the Iranian regime's stance that through its actions it is pursuing peace and stability in the region, Shamkhani added that "The Islamic Republic of Iran has paid a considerable price in order to establish regional stability and fight against Takfiri [inter-Muslim] terrorism. Therefore, it cannot remain indifferent to the worrying increase of destabilizing measures by the US, the Zionist regime [Israel] and some of their regional allies."Tensions between the Islamic Republic and Israel started rising after the infiltration of an armed Iranian drone into northern Israel in February and the April 9 air strike on a Syrian T-4 airbase that killed seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) members, something that Israel has not confirmed or denied but was blamed for by Iran as well as Russia.Rhetoric has been riding high in this latest spar between Israel and the Islamic Republic. Last Friday, when speaking at a festive cabinet meeting honoring Independence Day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that anyone who harms Israel will pay a heavy price. "We hear the threats from Iran, and the IDF and security forces are prepared for every possible Iranian move. We will fight whoever tries to harm us. We will not shy away from action against those who threaten our security. They will pay a heavy price."Israel last week also released details about what it described as an Iranian "air force" deployed in neighboring Syria, including civilian planes suspected of transferring arms, a signal that these could be attacked should tensions with Tehran escalate.Hossein Salami, second-in-command of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, immediately responded by saying: "Do not trust your airbases, they are within the range of fire. Our fingers are on the trigger and the missiles are ready to launch. The moment the enemy decides to act against us, we will launch them. We have learned ways to overcome our enemies, and we can harm the enemy's vital interests anywhere we want."Reuters contributed to this report.
14 killed in alleged Israeli airstrike on Syrian airbase, April 10, 2018 (Reuters)