Monday October 8, 2018
A TOP Iranian General has vowed to destroy Israel, warning “there will soon be no way to escape but the sea”, raising fears of a major outbreak of conflict in the volatile Middle East.
The comments were made by Brigadier General Hossein Salami, second-in-command of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards force, during a speech to his troops in the city of Isfahan.Hezbollah is believed to have up to 150,000 rockets and missiles stored away across Lebanon.
Referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said: “I tell the Prime Minister of the Zionist regime that he should practice swimming in the Mediterranean.
“Because soon there will be no way to escape but the sea.”
The Iranian regime consistently refers to the Israeli Government as “the Zionist regime” as a way of denying its legitimacy.
General Salami went on to claim that Israel could be defeated by terror group Hezbollah, which Iran supports.
He claimed: “The Zionist regime does not have any true elements of state and government and it is not at the level to present a threat to us.
“Hezbollah is enough to defeat it.”
The Iranian regime provides Hezbollah, which formed in 1985 in response to Israeli intervention in Lebanon, with weapons and money.
A 2006 conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, which ended in a stalemate, saw thousands of rockets fired towards Israeli cities indiscriminately from southern Lebanon.
Both Iran and Hezbollah have gained a foothold in Syria over recent years, where their forces are backing the regime of Bashar al-Assad against rebel groups.
Israel sees this intervention as a threat to its national security, and has conducted air strikes on sites linked to Hezbollah or Iran.
Over the past year and a half alone more than 200 strikes have been reported.
Last month there was a major international incident after Syrian forces, trying to respond to an Israeli attack, accidentally shot down a Russian surveillance plane killing 15 people.
In response, the Russians provided the Syrian military with more sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missiles.
Also last month, Mr Netanyahu used a UN appearance to accuse Iran of continuing its alleged nuclear weapons programme via a “secret atomic warehouse”.
Iran strongly denies the accusations, with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif mocking Mr Netanyahu’s presentation as an “arts and crafts show”.