ISRAEL (OBSERVATORY) – Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed on Thursday that his country would attack any Iranian attempt to “establish a military position” in Syria after an April 9 attack on Damascus.
In an interview with the Elaph news website run by a Saudi businessman who had previously interviewed Israeli officials, Lieberman also vowed to retaliate against Iran if Israel attacked.
“If the (Iranians) attack Tel Aviv, we will strike Tehran,” he said.
Lieberman warned the United States that he would discuss with US national security adviser John Bolton and other US officials “Iranian expansion in the Middle East, especially in Syria,” according to an Israeli defense ministry statement.
“We do not interfere in the war in Syria, and we do not fight there, but Iran is trying to establish bases in Syria, supplying these bases with sophisticated weapons, and from it wants to attack us.”
“I can not stand by when I see that Iran is doing so close to the Golan Heights, supporting Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon, and trying to establish its military presence in Syria to attack us in Israel,” he said. Syria will destroy it, and we will not allow it at all costs. ”
Israel has already carried out strikes against Syrian regime positions or arms shipments it said were from Iran and were directed at the Lebanese Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside the regime.
Tensions increased in February when Israel announced that an Iranian airliner had penetrated its airspace, leading to the first direct confrontation between Israel and Iran on Syrian soil.
On April 9, Damascus accused Israel of bombing an air base in central Syria, killing 14 pro-regime forces, including Iranians.
But the Israelis refused to confirm their responsibility for the raid.