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29 Dec, 2023 19:35

Israel struck Iran twice, former PM admits

Naftali Bennett called on the US to help his country “take on Iran directly”
Israel struck Iran twice, former PM admits

Israeli forces carried out a drone strike on an Iranian military base and assassinated a senior Iranian commander, former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has admitted. Bennett called on the US to embrace similar tactics against Tehran.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed published on Thursday, Bennett said that he ordered a drone strike on “a UAV base on Iranian soil” in February 2022. The attack was launched in response to a pair of failed Iranian drone strikes on Israel, Bennett claimed.

Israel rarely takes responsibility for strikes or covert actions on Iranian soil and, despite Israeli media reports that the strike was planned by Bennett’s government, West Jerusalem never confirmed or denied carrying it out.

Bennett, who led the Jewish state from June 2021 to June 2022, also admitted that Israel was behind the killing of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officer Hassan Sayyad Khodaei in Tehran the following month, describing Khodaei as the commander of “Iran’s terror unit.”

Khodaei was shot five times at point-blank range outside his home, with his killers escaping on motorcycles. As with the drone strike, Israeli officials never confirmed the country’s involvement, although Israeli security sources told the New York Times that they carried out the hit. 

Iran maintained from the outset that Israeli “zionists” were behind both attacks, and vowed to take revenge.

“There is little direct war taking place between Iran and Israel,” Bennett explained. “Instead, Iran constantly attacks Israel via its proxies in such places as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Gaza and Yemen.” Iran publicly admits arming and training a broad range of anti-Israel forces, including Shia militias in Iran and Syria, and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Hezbollah fighters have engaged in tit-for-tat firefights and missile exchanges with Israeli forces along the Lebanese border since the Israel-Hamas war broke out on October 7. With the Israeli government threatening to open up a second front against the Lebanese militants, a Hezbollah spokesman told RT earlier this month that the group is “at war” with Israel.

Bennett’s op-ed called on the US to join Israel in “bringing down Iran’s evil regime,” citing the 2022 strikes as examples of how this could be achieved. 

His call to arms will likely find favor among anti-Iran hardliners in Washington. Among this group is Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who on Thursday called for the bombing of Iranian oil fields and military headquarters. However, US President Joe Biden has thus far limited his anti-Iran efforts to airstrikes on militia targets in Iraq and Syria.