Israeli airstrikes in Iraq target Iranian weapons: military chief

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-25 19:44:14|Editor: xuxin
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JERUSALEM, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- Israeli military's chief said Wednesday that Israel "has carried out actions" in Iraq to foil convoys of weapons that could be used against Israel.

Aviv Kohavi made the rare acknowledgment during a speech in a conference in the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, a private research college outside Tel Aviv.

Kohavi told the security conference that Iranian weapons "are being transferred freely from Iraq" and "we cannot let it go on without addressing it."

It was the first time an Israeli official admitted Israel has attacked sites in Iraq. Israel has been accused of carrying out a series of airstrikes in Iraq, starting in July.

The United States confirmed that Israel was behind at least one of these strikes, which targeted an Iranian weapons depot, but Israel has never officially commented on the issue.

Kohavi identified efforts by Iran and its proxies in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon as a major threat to Israel. The Israeli army has been increasingly concerned by the presence of the Quds Force, Iran's overseas elite, and Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Lebanese group, in Syria.

Hezbollah, according to Israeli intelligence, has recently acquired precision missiles that could target Israel.

Kohavi said that shipments of Iranian-made weapons arrived also to militants in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave seized by Israel in a war in 1967.

Iran produces "hundreds" of missiles that could reach Israel, Kohavi said, adding that "Iran's military industry is larger than all of the Israeli security industries."

Kohavi sent a warning to Iran, vowing not to enable Iranian military presence in Syria even in the cost of a military escalation. "There is a possibility that we will face a confrontation with Iran. We are preparing for it but not encouraging it," he said.

Israel and Iran have an ongoing shadow war in Syria, with Israel carrying out "hundreds" of airstrikes in Syria against Iranian targets and weapons convoyed to Hezbollah.