Israel will 'bomb Assad's palace' over Iranian interference

Israel will 'bomb Assad's palace' over Iranian interference in Syria, says official
2 min read
29 August, 2017
Top Israeli officials have vented their frustration at world powers and the United Nations over Iran's manoeuvring in Syria.
Israel has accused the UN of being 'unfair' and failing to fulfil peacekeeping duties [AFP]

A top Israeli official warned Russia that Israel will attack Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's palace in Damascus if Iran continues manoeuvring in Syria, according to reports in Arabic-language media outlets.

The reports say that Israel also threatened to nullify the ceasefire deal agreed by Russia and the United States if Iran is not checked in Syria.

Israel made the warnings during a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Binyanmin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, a senior Israeli source told al-Jadida newspaper.

The source added that the two leaders did not reach an agreement over the matter, however, Netanyahu threatened that he would take action if his concerns were not taken seriously.

'War fronts' in Syria and Lebanon

On Monday, Israel accused accused Iran of building facilities in Syria and Lebanon for the production of precision-guided missiles.

Netanyahu made the allegation prior to talks with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in which he vented his frustration at perceived unfair treatment of Israel.

"Iran is busy turning Syria into a base of military entrenchment and it wants to use Syria and Lebanon as war fronts [in] its declared goal to eradicate Israel," Netanyahu said in Jerusalem.

"It is also building sites to produce precision-guided missiles toward that end in both Syria and in Lebanon. This is something Israel cannot accept. This is something the UN should not accept."

The Israeli leader's accusation followed a report from a Syrian pro-rebel news outlet that claimed that Iran is supervising construction of a missile factory in north-western Syria.

The report, which was published in June, was seemingly confirmed two weeks ago, when satellite imagery of the area was released by Israeli firm ImageSat International.

Imagesat International said that a building situated in Wadi Jahannam, near the coastal town of Baniyas, closely resembles a missile factory near the Iranian captial, Tehran. 

Tehran, which is providing military backing to Syria's government against rebel groups, has given no comment on the matter.

UN 'failures' in Lebanon

Netanyahu also pressed Guterres on alleged failures by the UN's peacekeeing force in Lebanon, Unifil, to prevent Hizballah from stockpiling weapons.

The secretary-general promised to "do everything in my capacity" to ensure that Unifil's obligations are being met in southern Lebanon, emphasising his understanding of Israel's concerns.

"I understand the security concerns of Israel and I repeat that the idea or the intention or the will to destroy the state of Israel is something totally unacceptable from my perspective," he said.