Iran is promising to deliver a "strong and decisive response" to Israel's recent airstrikes in Syria that killed two Iranian military advisers.
The Israelis "know they have received and will receive a harsher blow compared to what they have dealt to us," Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, a deputy commander with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), said during a funeral held Wednesday for two Iranian military advisers who were killed last week after Israel conducted a series of raids in Syria meant to push back Iranian-backed terrorist forces. "They should be ready for a strong and decisive response," Naqdi said.
The comments come amid an ongoing proxy war between Iran and Israel in Syria, where Iranian-backed forces have been orchestrating terror attacks on the Jewish state. Israeli forces are believed to be behind a series of recent strikes in and around Damascus that came after Tehran used its positions in Syria to launch a drone into Israeli airspace.
"The blood of our martyrs is far more valuable than killing a Zionist [in retaliation]; although this will happen, the main revenge is the liberation of al-Quds," Naqdi was quoted as saying in Iran's state-controlled press, referring to the mosque located on the Temple Mount. "We are seeing the collapse and elimination of Israel, and this is certain."
"The resistance movement," Naqdi said, "will not stop resistance until the elimination of Israel and cleaning up the region from their evil presence."
Iran's ambassador to the United Nations petitioned the international body on Thursday to classify Israel's strikes on Syria a violation of international law.
Footage from the funeral of the two Iranian military advisers killed in Syria showed attendees "chanting vociferous slogans against the Israeli regime and the U.S.," according to Mehr News.
The Israeli government is more isolated in the Middle East than ever since China helped broker a diplomatic détente between Iran and Saudi Arabia. China also is working to restore Syria's reputation in the region.
Israel's conservative government is also dealing with political unrest at home and a wave of Palestinian violence at Jerusalem holy sites. Iran is working to foment Palestinian anger, hoping that violence around Jerusalem's Temple Mount, the site of the two Muslim holy sites, destabilizes the Israeli government, leaving it vulnerable to terror attacks.
Israeli police on Wednesday clashed with Palestinians inside the al Aqsa mosque, leading Iranian-backed terror forces in the Gaza Strip to launch a barrage of rockets into Israel. Tehran quickly seized on the latest spate of violence.
Militant groups operating in Lebanon, which is controlled by Iran's Hezbollah terror group, on Thursday afternoon also launched a rocket barrage at Israel, adding fuel to fears of a larger regional war with Iranian proxies.
Conflict with Israel serves as a boon to the hardline Iranian government as it suppresses nationwide protests led by democratic reformers, distracting from the Iranian regime's own crimes and galvanizing its internal supporters.
Against this backdrop, Iran has been expanding its nuclear program to unprecedented levels, shrinking Israel's window to launch a preemptive strike.
Behnam Ben Taleblu, an Iran analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, said "the bar for the use of force by the Islamic Republic has been dropping, including for weapons like drones and ballistic missiles," a development he called "worrying."
While Israel still "retains escalation dominance against Iran, that has not been sufficient to deter the regime from poking and prodding to strike back," Ben Taleblu said. "Iran is also trying to maximally exploit the internal situation in Israel to fan the flames on multiple fronts against Jerusalem."
Published under: Iran , IRGC , Israel , Jerusalem , Palestinian Authority , Syria , Terror Attack