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19 Jan, 2024 06:34

‘We are attacking Iran’ – Netanyahu

Israel’s prime minister accuses Tehran of supporting militant groups ‘from the Houthis to Hezbollah to Hamas’
‘We are attacking Iran’ – Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Israel is already carrying out direct attacks on Iran and is making every possible effort to prevent Tehran from attaining nuclear weapons.

Answering a reporter’s question in Tel Aviv on Thursday about why Israel is conducting attacks on Iran’s proxies rather than attacking the country directly, Netanyahu replied: “Who says we are not attacking Iran, we are attacking.”

Israel claims Iran was involved in plotting the October 7 attacks, when around 1,200 people were killed and scores taken hostage in the surprise Hamas raid near Gaza. Israel retaliated by launching an intense military bombardment of the Palestinian enclave, so far leaving about 24,000 dead, according to local health officials. The operation is aimed at wiping out the militant group, West Jerusalem says.

Israel has previously openly accused Iran of aiding Hamas “with money, training and weapons and technological know-how” and intelligence.

“Iran is standing behind it. We are in conflict with Iran. Imagine not what Iran can do to us, to destroy us,” Netanyahu said, claiming he will only agree to a deal that grants West Jerusalem security control over all of Gaza.

Iran has denied any role in the Hamas assault on Israel, with Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani saying such accusations were “based on political reasons.”

Netanyahu added that “Iran is the head of the octopus and you see its tentacles all around from the Houthis to Hezbollah to Hamas.”

Iran has widely been seen by Israel and the US and as the major destabilizing power in the Middle East, allegedly supplying weapons, military expertise, and training to Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The US has previously alleged that Iran is “deeply involved” in Houthi attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea, claiming that it has provided the rebels with drones, missiles, and intelligence. Tehran has denied the allegation, insisting that “resistance groups” are acting independently and “not taking orders from Tehran to confront the war crimes and genocide committed by Israel.”

Israel rarely publicly admits to attacking Iran directly, but the Islamic Republic has long been a target of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his several terms in power.

In December former Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett revealed that Israel had attacked an unmanned aerial vehicle base in Iran and assassinated a senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander. Bennett, who was Israeli prime minister from June 2021 to June 2022, made the admission in an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal.