Kristine L Ming

Israel ‘very concerned’ by rising Iranian power in Syria, Ya’alon says

Israel is highly concerned by the prospect of a stronger Iranian presence in Syria, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told his Italian counterpart, Roberta Pinotti, on Monday in Tel Aviv.

Ya’alon, who met with Pinotti at his Tel Aviv bureau, praised defense relations between Israel and Italy, and pointed out the use by the IAF of Italy’s M346 training plane.

Although Israel would very much like the Syrian civil war to come to an end, the conflict, which has led to half a million casualties and ten million refugees, “is still continuing at this time. It has not completely stopped,” Ya’alon said.

Israel is “very concerned by the strengthening of Iran in Syria, which will lead to a strengthening of the Shi’ite axis, in a negative manner,” Ya’alon said. “This could encourage Iran to continue to activate a terror front against us from the Golan Heights. Iran will also continue to invest the money it will receive from sanctions relief in the development and acquisition of new weapons systems, and the building and fortification of terror proxies in the Middle East, Europe, and America, to spread terrorism around the world,” he added.

Iran has “not given up on its attempts to transfer weapons to the Gaza Strip through various means, and we witness these attempts all the time,” the defense minister stated.

The Italian defense minister said Israel and Italy are in the same boat, and share regional problems, adding that Israel has been living with these problems for a long time.

Europe and the entire world are now beginning to experience these problems themselves, and can better understand what has been taking place in the area, she said.

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