IDF Chief of Staff Kochavi warns Iran that Israel will ‘forcefully attack anyone’ who takes action against the Jewish State.
By Paul Shindman, World Israel News
An Israeli Navy submarine passed through the Suez Canal openly above the water on its way to Iran with Egyptian approval in what appeared to be a show of force against the Islamic State, Kan News reported Monday.
The submarine then passed through the Red Sea and is moving in the direction of the Persian Gulf, Arab intelligence sources told Kan, saying the Israeli naval presence was intended to convey a message to Tehran.
The IDF Spokesperson’s office would not confirm the report, saying that the IDF does not comment on such media announcements.
Israel has upped its military preparedness in anticipation of a possible retaliatory response to the assassination last month of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh near Tehran, which has been attributed in the media to Israel.
The move of the Israeli submarine to the Gulf region also comes as the first anniversary of the assassination of Iranian Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani approaches, for which the Iranians have sworn to carry out a revenge strike.
The movement of the submarines is normally top secret, and its open movement on the surface and with the approval of Egypt, which is also threatened by Iran, is seen as a warning sign to the Iranians that Israel takes Iranian threats seriously.
“If Iran and its partners, members of the radical axis … take action against the State of Israel – they will find that they are maintaining a very expensive partnership,” IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said.
“The IDF will forcefully attack anyone who is involved, in part or in full, from near or far, in action against the State of Israel or against Israeli targets,” Kochavi warned.
On Sunday, U.S. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, head of Central Command, said the U.S. is “prepared to react” should Iran launch an attack on the first anniversary of the killing of Islamic Revolutionary Guard leader Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
“We are prepared to defend ourselves, our friends and partners in the region, and we’re prepared to react if necessary,” Gen. McKenzie told reporters.
The United States maintains a massive military presence in the region with several air force and navy bases in neighboring Gulf states including the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, as well as the Fifth Fleet, whose Nimitz Carrier Strike Group arrived in the Arabian Gulf in September to bolster U.S. Navy forces there.
“The Nimitz Strike Group has been operating in the 5th Fleet area of operations since July, and is at the peak of readiness,” Rear Adm. Jim Kirk said in a statement issued by the navy. “We will continue our support to the joint force while we operate from the Arabian Gulf alongside our regional and coalition partners.”