Netanyahu reassures on Israel’s readiness for Syrian threat

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel is ready for “any scenario” in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, amid reports that Syria will hit Tel Aviv if Israel launches another raid on Syrian soil.

“We are following developments [in Syria] closely and are readying for any scenario,” Netanyahu said Sunday at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu’s comments followed a report in The Sunday Times of Britain that Syria has put its most advanced missiles, the Syrian-made Tishreen, or M-600 rockets, on stand-by with orders to hit Tel Aviv if Israel strikes again on Syrian soil.

Earlier this month, two alleged Israeli airstrikes on Syrian military sites reportedly targeted long-range missiles in transit from Iran to Hezbollah.

“The Israeli government is working responsibly and with determination and sagacity in order to ensure the supreme interest of the State of Israel – the security of Israeli citizens in keeping with the policy that we have set to – as much as possible – prevent the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah and to other terrorist elements, ” Netanyahu said Sunday.

Meanwhile, an unnamed senior Israeli official told the New York Times last week that Israel was considering additional military strikes to prevent the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah and that Israel would retaliate against attacks by Syria or its proxies.

On Friday, Amos Gilad, the Israeli Defense Ministry’s director of policy and political-military affairs, said Syrian President Bashar Assad is “acting responsibly” when it comes to Israel.

“Assad controls the weapons systems in his country, acts responsibly in everything related to Israel and understands the power facing him,” Gilad said during an interview with Israel Radio.

Gilad also said that Israel is deliberately not acting against Assad’s regime and that any actions it may take in Syria are in self defense.

“Syria has had some of its parts torn off it” but it is “a violent entity with many weapons,” he said.

On Friday, Lebanese media reported that several Israel Air Force warplanes were cruising Lebanese airspace at a low altitude. The planes were spotted over Hezbollah strongholds including Bint Jbel, Marj Ayoun and Nabatiya in the country’s South.

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