A top Iranian general vowed on Monday to eliminate Israel from “the global political map” if Jerusalem launches a new war, noting that it “will end with its elimination.”
In an interview with reporters in Tehran, Revolutionary Guard Corps deputy commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami was asked about Israeli forces targeting Iranians in neighboring Syria.
He was quoted by Iranian news outlets as saying, “Our strategy is to erase Israel from the global political map. And it seems that, considering the evil that Israel is doing, it is bringing itself closer to that.
“We announce that if Israel does anything to start a new war, it will obviously be the war that will end with its elimination, and the occupied territories will be returned,” he added, The Times of Israel reported. “The Israelis will not have even a cemetery in Palestine to bury their own corpses.”
His comments come following Israeli’s rare confirmation of a recent daylight raid near at the international airport in Damascus against Iranian targets including missiles that Tehran reportedly moved into Syria.
They also come amid increasingly bellicose rhetoric exchanged between Iranian and Israeli Defense Force (IDF) leaders as fears mount of a major new Middle East war.
Tensions are especially rising along the Israeli-Syria border between Iranian forces and their Hamas proxies and the IDF.
Following Israel’s daylight raid, Iranian forces reportedly fired a surface-to-surface missile toward the Golan Heights, former Syrian territory which Israel occupied after the Six Day War in 1967. Israeli media noted that the IDF’s Iron Dome defense system intercepted the Iranian missile.
Within hours, IDF jets attacked Iranian positions near Damascus including a Syrian air defense system that attacked Israeli warplanes.
A Britain-based Syrian human rights group noted that the IDF raids killed 21 people, including 12 Iranian fighters.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the 12 Iranians killed were members of Salami’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The Israelis have seen Iran build up its forces inside Syria for the past couple of years, regularly vowing to ensure that Tehran did not gain an adequate foothold inside the war-torn country from which to launch an invasion of the Jewish state.
Iran’s objective has been to create a land bridge from its eastern border with Afghanistan to the Mediterranean Sea, which it can then use to launch strikes at Israel.
In addition to Iranian forces gathering inside Syria, Iran-linked militias including Hamas and Hezbollah occupy territory inside both Syria and Lebanon. Reports note that Hezbollah has amassed an estimated 130,000 missiles which are far more than Israel defenses can handle.
It is believed that any major new war would begin with Israeli warplanes and missiles preemptively attacking sites believed to house Hezbollah missiles, wherever they were — including near civilian centers.
Earlier this week, Iran’s military chief of staff, Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, indicated Tehran was preparing to adopt offensive military tactics to protect its national interests, according to PressTV.
He didn’t say that Tehran intended to seize foreign territory, but rather “to protect our national achievements and interests, we may adopt an offensive approach.”
On Sunday, meanwhile, the commander of the Iranian Army’s Ground Forces, Brig. Gen. Kiumars Heidari, told reporters that his troops had formed into a “forward-moving and offensive” force.
“To protect Iran, the armed forces no longer need asymmetric approaches, and we are at a stage where we can defend our homeland… by using good offensive approaches,” he said, according to Press TV.
The statements come just a few days after some 12,000 Iranian forces held annual military drills in Isfahan Province. Troops, tanks, fighters, and drones were involved.