(Washington, D.C.) — Israeli leaders on Thursday warned Iran and Syria not to test the might of the IDF, even as Israeli military and civil defense forces were told to be ready for all scenarios.
“Refusing to be drawn into a public screaming match with Syria and Iran, Israel’s leaders on Thursday ignored apocalyptic threats and repeated the mantra voiced continually since Sunday: Israel is not involved in the Syrian crisis but will respond fiercely if attacked,” reports the Jerusalem Post. “Prior to holding another round of security consultations in Tel Aviv about the situation in Syria, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on camera and in his own voice what his office has been saying in his name throughout the week.”
“At present there is no need to change daily routines,” Netanyau said. “Despite the low assessment regarding Israel’s involvement in what is going on in Syria, we decided to deploy Iron Dome batteries as well as our other intercept systems. We are not involved in the civil war in Syria. But I would like to reiterate, if anyone tries to harm Israel’s citizens, the IDF will respond with great strength.”
“Netanyahu’s remarks came a few hours after Mohammed Ali Jafari, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, said a US strike on Syria would lead to the ‘imminent destruction’ of Israel,” noted the Post. “The theme of Netanyahu’s comments were expanded upon later in remarks IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz made at a ceremony for the fallen sailors of the Israeli navy.
Gantz said: “The IDF is at the start of challenging days. We have no part in the events taking place nearby to us, but in the event that fire is directed in Israel’s direction, it’s clear to every leader in our region and in the whole world that the price [for the attacker] will be heavy and the losses of the enemy will be stinging and difficult….We’ve analyzed the various implications from every possible development… and we are prepared for every scenario. Our capabilities to gather [intelligence] and to attack are most advanced, and our defenses — in the air, sea, and land — are ready and staffed by the best of our soldiers and commanders, conscripts and reserves.”
Meanwhile, “at a meeting with representatives from government ministries and emergency services, Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan instructed attendees to increase their readiness and widen communications with local authorities,” reports the Jerusalem Post in a separate article. “He also asked local government representatives to examine the readiness of public bomb shelters.”
“Although the security evaluation is that the chances of Israel being attacked are low, the security forces and home front protection organizations are prepared for all scenarios,” he said at the end of the meeting, which concluded on Wednesday evening.
“On Thursday, the Home Front Command extended the opening hours for gas mask distribution centers, to cope with the massive demand of recent days,” the Post noted. “Anxious Israelis have flooded the centers, anticipating an attack on Israel in response to any strike by the US and its allies on Syria over the regime’s probable use of chemical weapons. The centers, based in Israel Postal Service offices, will now be open each day from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m., but the number of centers will not increase. Gaby Ofir, the former director-general of the Homeland Security Ministry, said that ‘the number of gas masks in Israel today is not sufficient.'”
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