A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander on Monday threatened Israel with destruction if it attacks Iran, state media reported.
The comments by Brigadier General Hossein Salami, deputy head of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, followed an Israeli attack on Iranian targets in Syria last week - the latest in a series of assaults targeting Tehran's presence there in support of President Bashar Assad's government.
"We announce that if Israel takes any action to wage a war against us, it will definitely lead to its own elimination and the freeing of occupied (Palestinian) territories," Salami said, quoted by state television.
Iranian officials have previously said Tehran, which does not recognise Israel, would respond swiftly to any Israeli attack.
Salami's comments come two days after the head of the Hezbollah terror group, an Iranian proxy based in Lebanon, also said that the "axis of resistance" of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah could respond to Israel's Syria strikes with their own attack on Tel Aviv.
The so-called "axis" was deliberating a response to escalating Israeli strikes and could change their approach "at any moment" Hassan Nasrallah told the pro-Hezbollah television network al-Mayadeen.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week that he would “advise” the Iranians to leave Syria “as quickly as possible” after an Iranian minister claimed Tehran only has anti-terrorms "advisors" in the war-battered country.
"I heard the statement made by Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman that they have no military presence in Syria, only advisors," Netanyahu said as he welcomed the new IDF chief Aviv Kochavi. "So I advise them to get out of there quickly, because we will continue our aggressive policy in the region as we’ve promised.”
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard said Netanyahu’s statements about Israeli attacks on Iranian targets in Syria are false, and denied reports saying Iranian 12 soldiers were killed in one of Israel’s strikes. “If indeed Iranian fighters were killed (by Israeli air strikes), there would have been funerals,” said a spokesman for the Guard.
Israel has repeatedly attacked targets in Syria in an effort to prevent the entrenchment of Iranian troops as well as the transfer of advanced weaponry from Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon, via Syria.
Until recently, the Jewish state had a policy of deliberate ambiguity on the strikes, declining to confirm or deny it was behind them. That policy ended at the start of the year, however, when both then-IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot and Netanyahu separately publically confirmed that the Israel Air Force had struck multiple targets in Syria.