By Middle East Affairs
A senior commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards made heavy threats to Israel on Friday, Haaretz reported.
“The finger is on the trigger and the missiles are ready at any given moment that the enemy conducts something against us, and we will launch them,” said Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, the deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards.
Haaretz said Salmi was speaking before Friday prayers in Tehran.
He also referenced the American presence in Syria: “We have learned the formula of how to overcome the enemy and can harm his strategic interests anywhere,” he said. “The United States has been defeated in Syria because the Americans did not have a clear strategy and policy, and every action they take makes them look ridiculous, like the operation they did a few days ago, because they have no strategy. Today we are much stronger than ever before in all areas.”
Speaking directly to Israel, Haaretz reported Salami as threatening: “We know you very well, you are exposed to great harm because you have no depth, you are surrounded from every direction and you have nowhere to flee except to fall into the sea. Don’t put faith in your military bases because they are in firing range and we can attack them and prevent them (from operating).”
“You are living from the mouth of the snake and the resistance today is much stronger than what it was in the past. Don’t think that the new wars will be like the Second Lebanon War. You saw what the axis of resistance did to the heretic groups (in Syria) and how we succeeded in uprooting them. Don’t place your hope in the United States and Britain, when they arrive you will already have disappeared and so don’t make incorrect calculations,” Salami said, according to Haaretz.
At a special cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv to honor Israel’s 70th anniversary, Haaretz also reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to the threats by saying, “We are certain of our capabilities to protect ourselves with our own power.”
“Israel’s soldiers are prepared for any development and we will fight anyone who tries to harm us,” he said. “We will not be deterred by the price, and those who want to kill us will pay the price. The IDF is ready for its mission, and the people will rise up to it.”
On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that an Israeli air strike last week on the T4 air base in Syria was on an advanced Iranian air-defense system and not just attack drone deployment.
The news organization said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had also spoken with U.S. President Donald Trump before ordering the strike “in hopes of preventing Iran from using the anti-aircraft battery against Israeli jets carrying out strikes in Syria.”
A senior Israeli military official also admitted this week in The New York Times that Israel had targeted T4, and that “it was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets – both facilities and people.”
That attack killed seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force members.
Previously in February, Israel had shot down in its airspace what it said was an Iranian armed drone that had launched from Syria, and then retaliated by carrying out air strikes in Syria. In that strike, an Israeli F16 jet was shot down, though the pilot survived.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Iran began boosting its air defenses following that incident.
The Israeli official who spoke with The New York Times said that the incident “opened a new period,” and that “this is the first time we saw Iran do something against Israel – not by proxy.”
The Wall Street Journal said after that incident, Israel tracked an Iranian plane flying a Tor missile system from Tehran to T4. Israel then moved quickly to destroy Iran’s new defense system “before it could be set up,” citing intelligence officials.