Israeli minister boasts his country 'has been killing Iranians' as tensions with Iran soar


Regional cooperation minister Tzachi Hanegbi made the comments on Sunday during a public radio broadcast in reference to Israeli strikes in neighbouring Syria against Iranian and Hezbollah military targets, according to France24. However, the comments came after Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker on Friday in the Strait of Hormuz. The seizure of the tanker has escalated tensions between Washington and Tehran which are linked to the 2015 nuclear deal.

Mr Hanegbi accused Iran – Israel’s main enemy – of seeking to create “chaos” and “harm freedom of navigation”.

Mr Hanegbi was asked if he feared whether the US would not back Israel in the case of a conflict with Iran but he insisted Tehran would avoid such a scenario.

He said: “Israel is the only country in the world that has been killing Iranians for two years.

“We strike the Iranians hundreds of times in Syria. Sometimes we acknowledge it and sometimes foreign reports reveal it.”

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He added that the Iranians “understand that Israel means business.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated similar comments to Mr Hanegbi last week.

He said: “At the moment, the only army in the world to fight Iran is the Israeli army.”

Mr Netanyahu also warned that Israeli fighter jets “can reach anywhere in the Middle East, including Iran”.

The seizure of the British oil tanker Stena Impero happened amid escalating UK-Iranian tensions following the seizure of an Iranian supertanker by the UK near Gibraltar.

The vessel was suspected of carrying a cargo of crude oil destined for a Syrian refinery – a move which would violate EU sanctions.

The ship’s captain, chief officer and two more officers were arrested and bailed.

Defence Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, has defended the decision to send a third warship to the Gulf and has stated it is “vital we send a very clear message” to Tehran following a strain in diplomatic relations.


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