JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s defense minister said in an interview carried by an Arabic news site Thursday that his country will strike back if attacked by archenemy Iran.
“We hear many (Iranian) threats … but if they attack Tel Aviv, we will strike Tehran,” Avigdor Lieberman told Elaph.
The interview was published Thursday while Lieberman was in the United States for talks with defense officials.
There has been a spike in hostile rhetoric between the bitter rivals since an airstrike on a military base in Syria that Iran and Russia blamed on Israel earlier this month. Seven Iranians were killed in the strike on Syria’s T4 air base.
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Israel has neither confirmed nor denied carrying out the strike. Iran has threatened to respond.
On Thursday, the acting commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard said Israel is “frightened” of the presence of Islamic (Republic’s) forces near its borders.
“That’s why we are seeing it launch missiles at bases where our (Iranian) forces are present,” Gen. Hossein Salami was quoted as saying by the official Iranian news agency IRNA.
Israel views Iran as a serious threat due to its nuclear and missile programs, support of violent regional groups and frequent calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.
It has warned it will not tolerate Iran establishing itself militarily in neighboring Syria.