High-ranking Iranian military officers have stepped up their rhetorical attacks on Israel in recent days, repeatedly threatening to attack the Jewish state.
Lt. Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), stated on Saturday that Iran would form a new West Bank military front against Israel, stating that “this is part of a new reality that will gradually emerge.”
The threat is the latest in a series of statements by senior Iranian officers in the aftermath of a reported Israeli strike on members of Hezbollah and Iranian military personnel ,including senior members of the IRGC, along the Israel-Syria border. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the head of the IRGC, stated last Tuesday that “the Zionists should prepare themselves for our shattering thunderbolt. They have experienced our rage in the past.” Maj. Gen. Mostafa Izadi, the Iranian Armed Forces’ deputy chief of staff for logistics, declared last Wednesday that “they [Israel] will receive a crushing response” and that “Muslim fighters will take a firm and powerful revenge for the blood of these martyrs.”
Iran’s Fars News reported that Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, commander of Iran’s Basij militia, said, “freedom of Haifa and Tel Aviv is much easier for us than the 33-day and 22-day wars (between Israel and the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance forces) since the Zionist army’s doctrine is based on an offensive strategy and it has spent 60 years of its despicable and evil life with this doctrine.”
The strike occurred on January 18 and killed six Hezbollah members and several Iranians, including Mohammad Ali Allahdadi, an IRGC commander who was reportedly a close confidant of Iranian Supreme leader Ali Khamenei and an expert in ballistic missiles.
This is not the first time Iran has threatened Israel via the West Bank. Khamenei tweeted last November:
#WestBank should be armed just like #Gaza. Friends of Palestine should do their best to arm People in West Bank.#HandsOffAlAqsa
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) November 8, 2014
In addition, Naqdi said last August, “Arming the West Bank has started and weapons will be supplied to the people of this region.” Another senior official, Gen. Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC’s air force, was quoted as saying, also last August, that Iran “will accelerate the arming of the West Bank and we reserve the right to give any response.” In a speech to university students last July, Khamenei said, “[O]ur belief is that the West Bank should be armed like Gaza.”
[Photo: Manuchehr Lenziran / YouTube]