Netanyahu says Israel prepared 'defensively and offensively' as Iran attack looms

'Whoever harms us, we will harm them,' PM tells Air Force pilots; US CENTCOM commander arrives in Israel to observe offensive preparations and multi-layered defense; Assad reportedly refuses to allow Iranian response from Syrian soil against Israel
Yossi Yehoshua, Lior Ben Ari|
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Israel prepared “both defensively and offensively” for any attack on it as Iran threatens retaliation for the assassination high-ranking Revolutionary Guard in Damascus earlier this month.
Netanyahu made the remarks during a visit to the Tel Nof Airbase in central Israel where he with members of the 133rd Squadron, which operates F-15 fighter jets.
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ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו ביקור בבסיס חיל האוויר בתל נוף
ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו ביקור בבסיס חיל האוויר בתל נוף
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Tel Nof Airbase
(Photo: GPO)
He received a briefing from the base's deputy commander and the squadron commander about their war efforts, telling pilots, "We are in challenging days. We are amid the war in Gaza, which continues with full force. Meanwhile, we persist in our efforts to return our captives but are also prepared for scenarios involving challenges from other fronts."
"We've established a simple principle," Netanyahu added. "Whoever harms us, we will harm them. We are ready to respond to Israel's security needs, both defensively and offensively. The people of Israel and I trust you, and may we all have great success."
Meanwhile, U.S. Central Command Commander General Michael Kurilla landed in Israel on Thursday and is set to meet IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi at the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv to closely observe Israel and the United States' offensive readiness and multi-layered defense, and to tighten coordination in these two areas as part of preparations for a potential Iranian attack. On Friday, Kurilla is scheduled to meet with Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.
Russia has urged countries in the Middle East to show restraint and warned against traveling to a region on edge over Iran’s threat to strike Israel, while Germany's Lufthansa extended a suspension of flights to Tehran.
Iran has vowed revenge for the April 1 airstrike on its embassy compound in Damascus that killed a top Iranian general and six other Iranian military officers, escalating tensions in a region already shaken by the Gaza war.
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ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו ביקור בבסיס חיל האוויר בתל נוף
ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו ביקור בבסיס חיל האוויר בתל נוף
(Photo: GPO)
"Right now, it's very important for everyone to maintain restraint so as not to lead to a complete destabilization of the situation in the region, which doesn't exactly shine with stability and predictability," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told at a news briefing. "We call on all countries in the region to exercise restraint."
Meanwhile, Saudi newspaper Al Hadath reported that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, claimed that "Damascus refuses to allow an Iranian response against Israel from Syrian territory."
Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has reiterated threats of an attack, in response to which Israel clarified several days ago to the United States that "an attack from Iranian territory would compel us to respond directly."
This led to tightened security coordination between the IDF and the U.S. military, and Thursday night, U.S. President Joe Biden declared that his country would do "whatever it takes to protect Israel's security." Biden's statement was made following an Israeli request.
In the messages exchanged between the nations, it was further stated that if the attack is carried out directly from Iran, there will be a severe response, and if it is conducted through proxies, the response will target them. Additionally, the messages indicated that if the attack results in no damage or casualties, the event could be overlooked.
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