Photo: Gil Yohanan
Yuval Steinitz talks to Ynet
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Minister: Iran could strike Israel if U.S. standoff escalates

Yuval Steinitz tells Ynet that 'things are heating up' in the Gulf, warns Tehran could attack Jewish state using its proxies Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria and Islamic Jihad in Gaza Strip

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz warned Sunday of possible direct or proxy Iranian attacks on Israel should the stand-off between Tehran and Washington escalate.



The United States has increased economic and military pressure on Iran, with U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday urging its leaders to talk to him about giving up their nuclear program and saying he could not rule out an armed confrontation.


Yuval Steinitz talks to Ynet, May 12, 2019  (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Yuval Steinitz talks to Ynet, May 12, 2019 (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, which supports Trump's hard tack against its arch-foe, has largely been reticent about the spiralling tensions.


But Steinitz told Ynet on Sunday that "things are heating up" in the Gulf.


 Anti-U.S. protests in Tehran  (Photo: EPA)
Anti-U.S. protests in Tehran (Photo: EPA)



"If there's some sort of conflagration between Iran and the United States, between Iran and its neighbours, I'm not ruling out that they will activate Hezbollah (in Lebanon) and Islamic Jihad from Gaza, or even that they will try to fire missiles from Iran at the State of Israel," said Steinitz, a member of Netanyahu's security cabinet.


Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad are Iranian-sponsored guerrilla groups on Israel's borders.


The IDF declined to comment when asked if it was making any preparations for possible threats linked to the Iran-U.S. standoff.


Anti-U.S. protests in Tehran (Photo: AP)
Anti-U.S. protests in Tehran (Photo: AP)

Israel has traded blows with Iranian forces in Syria, as well as with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Palestinian militants. But it has not fought an open war with Iran, a country on the other side of the Middle East. 


Meanwhile, the new commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards Hossein Salami told Iranian parliamentarians on Sunday that the United States has started a psychological war in the region, according to a government spokesman.


IRGC Commander Hossein Salami (Photo: AP)
IRGC Commander Hossein Salami (Photo: AP)


The U.S. military has sent forces, including an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers, to the Middle East to counter what the Trump administration says are "clear indications" of threats from Iran to U.S. forces there.


The USS Abraham Lincoln is replacing another carrier rotated out of the Gulf last month.

The USS Abraham Lincoln is heading to the Mideast (Photo: AP)
The USS Abraham Lincoln is heading to the Mideast (Photo: AP)


"Commander Salami, with attention to the situation in the region, presented an analysis that the Americans have started a psychological war because the comings and goings of their military is a normal matter," the spokesman for the parliamentary leadership, Behrouz Nemati, said, summarizing the Guards commander's comments, according to parliament's ICANA news site.


Major General Hossein Salami was appointed as head of the Guards last month.


פרסום ראשון: 05.12.19, 12:32
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