Israel’s defense minister claimed on Monday that since assuming office at the end of last year, the country’s new administration had significantly increased the number of airstrikes against Iranian targets.
Yoav Gallant did not specify how many airstrikes there were. However, the speech at a security conference represented a first for public discussion of Israeli military operations in Syria.
He claimed that Israeli strikes against Iranian targets in Syria have quadrupled since Gallant assumed office.
“As part of this campaign, we are methodically working to strike the Iranian intelligence capabilities in Syria,” he declared.
“These strikes inflict significant damage on the attempts by the Revolutionary Guard to establish a foothold a few kilometers from the Israeli border.”
Gallant also charged Iran with transforming civilian ships into military craft outfitted with missiles, drones, and tools for espionage gathering. He claimed that Iran wanted to station these ships far from its shores.
He declared that Iran wanted to extend its influence to the Mediterranean coastline, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean. “This is a structured plan intended to pose a long-term maritime threat and to jeopardize trade and flight routes, both military and civilian.”
Israel sees Iran as its worst enemy due to its demands for the destruction of Israel and its sponsorship of militant organizations that are hostile to Israel throughout the region.
Additionally, Iran is charged with attempting to construct a nuclear weapon, an accusation Tehran refutes. Israeli officials have admitted hundreds of attacks against Iranian targets in neighboring Syria, where Iran has supplied advisers and troops to support President Bashar Assad in a 12-year civil war.
But officials have provided scant specifics over time and hardly ever commented on particular operations.