Israel’s defence minister, Benny Gantz, has warned there will be no let-up in military engagement with Iran after airstrikes hit the Syrian port of Latakia.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack, which set fire to containers unloaded at the port on Tuesday. However, Syria blamed Israel, which is known to have carried out
The strikes are intended to prevent the transfer of weapons and technology to the Lebanon-based militia Hezbollah, which has tens of thousands of rockets aimed at Israel.
Shipments have recently begun arriving at Latakia by sea, a reflection of the damage done by strikes to convoys travelling over the land border.
“I call upon the region’s countries to stop Iran from violating their sovereignty and people,” Gantz said on a visit to an air force base later on Tuesday. “Israel will not allow Iran to funnel balance-breaching weapons to its proxies and threaten our citizens.”
Tensions between Israel and Iran are reaching a decisive stage. The build-up of Hezbollah’s missiles is approaching a point where Israel fears that they would be capable of doing serious damage to key infrastructure.
At the same time, Iran’s nuclear programme has reached a level where few technical developments would be needed for Tehran to build an atomic weapon, should it decide to do so.
Talks with the UN security council and western powers on reimposing the 2015 deal and limiting Iran’s nuclear programme have made little progress, negotiators say.
As well as missile transfer sites, Israel is also threatening to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities directly if the talks end without a deal that it believes imposes real restrictions.