A tough new warning from Israel to Iran is raising fears of war in the Middle East.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is prepared to confront Iranian “aggression” sooner rather than later.
Speaking at the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu accused Iran of transferring advanced weapons to neighboring Syria, including missiles and anti-aircraft batteries it intends to use against Israel.
“We do not want an escalation,” Netanyahu said, “but we are prepared for any scenario.”
The tough rhetoric follows a presentation on national TV a week ago, in which Netanyahu exposed what he said were tens thousands of documents proving that Iran had a secret nuclear weapons program which could be quickly revived at any time.
The files, which were seized in Tehran by Israeli intelligence, could reinforce threats by U.S. President Donald Trump to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal by May 12. The three European countries that signed the agreement, Britain, France and Germany, have tried to persuade Trump not to withdraw.
In an Israel Radio interview, former general Yisrael Zeev said Netanyahu appears to be preparing the nation for war.
He said Israel may have to launch a preemptive strike against Iranian assets in Syria, prompting Iran and its ally Hezbollah in Lebanon to fire missiles into Israel.
Netanyahu will visit Moscow on Wednesday to discuss the situation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the main power broker in Syria. Putin will no doubt urge Netanyahu to act with restraint.
But Netanyahu told the Cabinet that Israel must learn from history. He said nations that were not prepared to take timely action against aggression paid a much higher price later on.