Israeli cabinet member confirms the country is on high alert on the anniversary of the assassination of Iranian General Suleimani
An Israeli cabinet member called “nonsense” statements by the Iranian foreign minister that Israel is trying to trick the U.S. into going to war with Iran.
It is Israel that should be on alert for possible Iranian strikes on the first anniversary of the killing of senior Iranian General Qassem Suleimani in a U.S. drone strike, said Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, speaking on public radio Kan.
Washington accuses Iranian-backed militias of regular missile attacks on U.S. facilities in Iraq, including near the U.S. embassy. No known Iranian-backed group has claimed responsibility for the strikes.
“New intelligence from Iraq indicates that Israeli agents provocateurs are planning attacks against Americans to embarrass the outgoing Trump with a false casus belli (reason to declare war),” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted Saturday.
“Don’t fall into the trap, [Donald Trump]. Any fireworks will have unpleasant consequences, especially for your own best friends,” Zarif added. In his words, one could see a veiled threat against Israel.
Steinitz said the words show that Iran, after tightening U.S. sanctions aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear program and its involvement in regional conflicts, is “under pressure – in terms of economics and national security.”
“We hear this nonsense from Zarif that Israel is plotting terrorist attacks against the U.S. – it’s complete nonsense,” Steinitz told Radio Kan. – “But on the other hand, it’s a warning that Iran is targeting Israel, looking for pretexts to pounce on Israel, so we need to keep our fingers on the pulse and be on the highest alert.
On Wednesday, two U.S. B-52 bombers flew over the Middle East to send a deterrent signal to Iran but left the region afterward.
In a separate interview with Radio Kan, Israeli Culture Minister Hili Tropper, who, like Steinitz, is part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security team, confirmed media reports that Israel is on high alert for the anniversary of the January 3, 2020 assassination of Suleimani.
Asked what possible retaliatory measures Israel expects from Iran, Tropper said: “I can’t (comment on that).”