Israel is “ready” to attack Iran and can do so even without support from the United States, Israeli media quoted IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi as saying on Wednesday.
“We are ready to act against Iran. The Israeli army has the ability to strike both in distant countries and near home,” i24NEWS quoted Halevi as telling the IDF’s army radio.
He said that the IDF will enhance its capabilities for a pre-emptive strike on Iran in the next few years, and that such a strike would be “overwhelming” despite the geographical distance.
“We know how to act alone. We are a sovereign nation that reserves the right to make its own decisions. It would be good to have the United States on our side, but it is not an obligation,” he added.
These comments come amid growing tensions between Iran and Israel, with Iran accusing Israel of killing two of its military personnel in Syria last week and vowing to retaliate.
Israel accuses Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons, a claim that Iran denies. Israel has previously warned that if diplomatic efforts fail to curb Iran’s nuclear program, it would resort to military action.
There has been a rare public disagreement between Israel and the US, with President Joe Biden calling on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step back from a bid to weaken the judiciary, which has triggered massive protests in Israel.
Netanyahu responded that he would not bow to foreign pressure but took a more conciliatory tone when he participated in a democracy summit called by Biden.
Following that exchange, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called his Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen and “reaffirmed the importance of the enduring US-Israel bilateral relationship,” according to State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said.