Days after high-ranking military officials from Israel and the United States again discussed the Iranian threat, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said efforts to thwart Iran’s terrorism network isn’t just an ongoing process—it’s going on all the time. “We will not allow Iran to tighten a ring of terrorism around us to strangle us. We are taking action on this matter around the clock, at all times, even now, and we will continue to take both offensive and defensive action against Iranian aggression and that of its terrorist proxies,” said Netanyahu in Sunday’s cabinet meeting, according to an Israeli press release.
Netanyahu’s highlighting of the high priority given to the threat comes after Israel again struck assets of the Iranian terror proxy Hezbollah on Saturday, and just days after top Israeli defense officials met with US Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander General Michael Kurilla.
According to a post on the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) website, Saturday’s Israeli missile attack destroyed a Hezbollah ammunition warehouse in Syria. Weapons trucks were also hit. Of note, the Syrian location is defended by three air defense positions which appear to have failed to protect the targets.
Meanwhile, a fuel station was hit in the attack and SOHR reported that while the fuel station was also owned by a Hezbollah operative, it was unclear if the fuel station was struck by Israel or if the air defenses hit the fuel station in error. Four combatants were injured in the overall incident, with SOHR stating there was information on potential fatalities. The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) claimed on their website that three civilians were injured.
The ongoing back and forth between Israel and Iranian allies in Syria comes as tensions have heated up between Iran and the US-Israel alliance. With that in the background, Israel and the US have taken steps to counter Iranian aggression in the Middle East, while the sides have also held regular security discussions.
The IDF Twitter feed reported on Thursday in a series of posts that CENTCOM Commander Kurilla met with IDF Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, with the IDF head stating that Israel is “actively following the changes in the region, with an emphasis on the increase in Iranian hostility and terror activity. Precisely in this sensitive time period, there is great importance in the close relationship between the IDF and the US Armed Forces, we will continue the cooperation and the common commitment to the security in the Middle East.”
In the same Twitter report, Kurilla said he was “thoroughly impressed by the combat readiness” he saw with the IDF, while noting “our military-to-military relationship with Israel remains ironclad.”
As part of his visit, Kurilla also met with Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant on Thursday. According to an Israeli press release, the two military officials focused their discussion on Iran, including the delivery of weapons to Iranian terrorist proxies in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and elsewhere in the region.
The press release said that during the discussion, Gallant “expressed the concerns of the State of Israel in regards to Iran’s progress in its nuclear program and aims to achieve nuclear military capabilities.”
The summary said both leaders “expressed their shared commitment to deepen the unique cooperation and intelligence-sharing between their respective militaries and defense establishments.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, May 1, 2023)