Defense Minister Naftali Bennett says Israel has transitioned from halting Iran’s military buildup in Syria to pushing it back.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said that Israel has blocked Iran’s military buildup in Syria and was preparing to clear the Iranians out, Maariv reported.
“We have moved from curbing Iran’s entrenchment in Syria to pushing it out of there and we will not stop,” Bennett said. “We will not allow more strategic threats to grow just across our borders without taking action.”
Bennett’s comments came the day after Syrian news agencies reported on an alleged Israeli air strike on an ammunition dump near the Syrian capital of Damascus.
Israel has routinely communicated that Iranian troops operating near its borders is a red line that it will not tolerate. To that end, Israel has launched a series of airstrikes mainly targeting Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Syria. It rarely confirms the attacks and did not comment on Monday’s airstrike.
Speaking during the annual Memorial Day commemorating victims of war and terror, Bennett said it was clear that “we have not yet arrived at a moment when the enemies of Israel are reconciled with the existence of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel.”
Bennett said that although the goal is to arrive at peace, he regretted it would not likely happen “in our generation.”
“In fact in these days the Iranian regime and its [military] arms are working to try to harm the State of Israel and its citizens. Only this I can promise: The State of Israel will never place its security in the hands of others. We will defend ourselves on our own.”
“We will continue to move the campaign into enemy territory,” Bennett said. “We will no longer allow strategic threats to grow beyond our borders without us acting. IDF soldiers and their commanders are confident and determined, and with God’s help we will win.”
In another airstrike attributed to Israel last week, nine combatants, including six who were not Syrians and some who were loyal to the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group, were killed.
Iranian forces have been instrumental in saving the rule of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, and Israel has accused Iran of illegally building weapons factories in Lebanon and Syria. The Iranian regime in Tehran has repeatedly stated that its goal is the “total annihilation” of Israel.