Zachi Hanegbi boasts

Senior Israeli Minister: Israel is the only country killing Iranians

Senior Israeli Minister: Israel is the only country killing Iranians

Zachi Hanegbi

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Gaza Post - Agencies

Israel 'strikes the Iranians hundreds of times in Syria, sometimes admits it and sometimes foreign reports reveal it,' Tzachi Hanegbi said.

Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said on Sunday morning that "Israel is the only country in the world that has been killing Iranians for two years now.

Speaking in an interview with Kan Bet radio about escalating tensions with Tehran, Hanegbi added that Israel "strikes the Iranians hundreds of times in Syria, sometimes admits it and sometimes foreign reports reveal it. Sometimes the chief of staff [reveals it], sometimes the outgoing air force chief [reveals it], but it's all coordinated policy."

Asked "what would happen should Israel get in trouble with Iran," in light of what the interviewer called "America's cautious response to the confrontation between Britain and Tehran against the backdrop of the alliance between the two countries," the minister said: "You can see that the Iranians are very limited in their responses, and it's not because they don't have abilities, it's because they understand that Israel means business." 

Hangebi went on to add that Israel is "very aggressive when it comes to our national security... We still didn't see the Iranians backing off from their intention to entrench themselves militarily in Syria, and this campaign isn't over. But they know exactly who to mess with, and who can be annoyed. We can't."

Later Sunday, Iranian media responded to the reports on Hanegbi's statement, with Tehran's Press TV tweeting a quote of the Israeli minister and writing: "This is how Israelis are freely and proudly talking about killing Iranians! Just imagine what would happen if it was the other way around!"

Hanegbi's comments come as regional tensions continue to mount, with the Gulf becoming the major scene where the escalation is accelerating. On Friday, Iran seized two British oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. Later, one of the ships was released. 

Earlier Friday, an unmanned aircraft dropped explosives on a base belonging to Iran-linked Shi'ite paramilitary groups in northern Iraq on Friday, killing at least one person, the army and paramilitary sources said.

The Iraqi military said in a statement a drone had dropped a grenade onto the base in northern Salahuddin province, wounding at least two people, but gave no further details.

Paramilitary sources in the area and a Baghdad-based paramilitary leader said one person had been killed in the attack which took place in the early hours of Friday morning.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

A security source said two explosions hit the base, one targeting an ammunition depot belonging to an Iran-backed group.

The incident took place amid heightened tension between the United States and Iran.

Iraq is seen as a potential arena for any violent regional confrontation between the two foes because of the presence of Iran-backed Shi'ite Muslim paramilitary groups operating in close proximity to bases hosting U.S. forces.

Islamic State militants, also enemies of the Shi'ite paramilitaries, operate in the area where the base is located and in many remote areas of northern Iraq, despite the group having lost its sway over territory.

It has claimed attacks against Iraqi forces in recent months.

Several Iraqi bases hosting U.S. forces were hit by a number of rockets a few weeks ago in unclaimed attacks in which no one was hurt. Washington is pressing Iraq's government to rein in Iran-backed paramilitary groups which it says pose a threat to U.S. interests in Iraq.

Source: Haaretz