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War of Words Escalates Between Iran and Israel

A combo photo of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

As tensions escalated between Iran and Israel, The Jerusalem Post on April 20 quoted Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as saying in reaction to Iran’s threats that “Israel is prepared for every possible Iranian move” and “will not shy away from action.”

"We hear the threats from Iran and the IDF and security forces are prepared for every possible Iranian move. We will fight whoever tries to harm us. We will not shy away from action against those who threaten our security. They will pay a heavy price,” Netanyahu said.

According to Jerusalem post, Netanyahu made the statement Friday morning at a special cabinet meeting that took place at the location where, 70 years ago, the establishment of the State of Israel was declared.

Within an hour, Hossein Salami, a deputy commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said in Tehran on Friday “You would be annihilated in any war. Your only way out would be escaping to the sea.”

“We know you very well. You are too vulnerable. Your country is smaller than one of the theaters of the Iran-Iraq war [of the 1980s]. All of the occupied lands could come under our fire,” Tasnim News Agency quoted Salami as saying.

Salami added: “You have no escape route. You live in the mouth of the dragon. Whatever war that might take place will end with your annihilation.”

“Do not rely on your air bases. They are within our reach. Do not rely on the US and UK. They will get there when you are no longer alive. So, beware of dangerous miscalculations,” Salami warned Israel.

In the meantime, as war of words heighten between Iran and Israel, the state of alert in northern Israel continues too, reported Y.Net News website, adding that Netanyahu’s tone has become “clearer” as Iran’s threat turned more serious.

Reacting to Salami’s remarks, Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned:

"I suggest that everyone on the northern border think carefully about what they are doing," adding

"They should not try the IDF or the State of Israel. We are ready for any scenario. We are ready for a multifaceted scenario. There has never been such readiness and such willingness, both in the army and among the people of Israel, in recent memory."

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin had said on Thursday that Israel is facing “direct threats from Iran.”

Iran and Russia attributed an air strike in early April on T-4 base in Homs, Syria to Israel. This was the second round of attacks by Israeli forces on Iranian targets in Syria In a matter of weeks. It immediately followed Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons.

At least 7 Iranian military men were killed during the attack on Homs.

The first strike, which targeted a base near Palmyra, took place after Israel disclosed that Iran had flown a drone into Israeli airspace with a suicide mission. Israel had said the incident was tantamount to Iran’s entry into direct military confrontation with Israel.

Before the drone incident Iran usually acted against Israel through its proxies such as Hamas and Hezbollah, Israeli sources said at the time.

Iranian leader Ali Khamenei’s adviser, Ai Akbar Velayati said during a visit to Syria that that the attack on T-4 “will not remain unanswered.” Subsequently, Ai Shirazi, Khamenei’s representative to IRGC’s Qods Force threatened that “Tel Aviv and Haifa will be levelled with the slightest stupidity by Israel.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi also threatened in mid-April that ”Sooner or later Israel will get Iran’s response to the attack” on T-4, adding, ”Israel will regret what it did,” Iranian agencies reported.