The head of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said Wednesday that Israel is “ready” to attack Iran and could do so without help from the US.
“We are ready to act against Iran. The Israeli army has the ability to strike both in distant countries and near home,” IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said.
The comments come as tensions between Israel and Iran are soaring. Israel has ramped up its airstrikes in Syria and killed two members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Damascus last Friday. Tehran has vowed that it will respond.
Israel has a history of launching covert attacks inside Iran, but it’s not clear if its warplanes could pull off airstrikes against the Islamic Republic without assistance from the US. Halevi insisted that Israel can, as the IDF has been preparing to attack Iran for years.
“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 said.
The US and Israel have been rehearsing for war with Iran by holding massive military exercises. In January, the US and Israel held their largest-ever joint drills in a provocative message aimed at Tehran.
Tensions are also soaring in the region due to Israel’s crackdown on Palestinians and Israeli forces raiding the Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan. A barrage of rockets was fired into Israel from Lebanon on Thursday in response. Sources told Reuters the rockets were fired by Palestinian factions based in Lebanon, not Hezbollah. Israel has blamed Hamas, signaling a potential escalation in Gaza.