“You can take back with you a message to the tyrants of Tehran: Do not test Israel’s resolve,” Netanyahu told Iran’s foreign minister, while displaying part of an Iranian UAV.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday presented what he believed was a clear-cut indictment against Iran’s mounting regional belligerence when he displayed a piece of the wreckage of the Iranian UAV that was shot down in Israel earlier this month.
“Iran denies that it committed an act of aggression against Israel last week, that it sent a drone into our airspace to threaten our people,” Netanyahu stated during his speech at the Munich Security Conference.
“Well, here’s a piece of that Iranian drone, or what’s left of it after we shot it down. I brought it here so you could see for yourself,” he said, holding up the piece.
Addressing Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Netanyahu said: “Mr. Zarif, do you recognize this? You should. It’s yours. You can take back with you a message to the tyrants of Tehran: Do not test Israel’s resolve.”
Netanyahu told world leaders, defense officials and diplomats at the conference that the nuclear deal signed with Iran in 2015 has “unleashed a dangerous Iranian tiger in our region and beyond.” He pointed out that the agreement was similar to the infamous 1938 “Munich Agreement” that Western powers signed with Adolf Hitler in an attempt to stave off war in Europe, shortly before World War II broke out.
“The concessions to Hitler only emboldened the Nazi regime,” he said. “Rather than choosing a path that might have prevented war… those well-intentioned leaders made a wider war inevitable and far more costly.”
Israel ‘Will Act if Necessary…Against Iran Itself’
Declaring that Iran’s “brazenness hit new highs,” he then held up the Iranian UAV part.
“Israel will not allow Iran’s regime to put a noose of terror around our neck,” he asserted. “We will act if necessary, not just against Iran’s proxies that are attacking us, but against Iran itself.”
On February 10, an Israeli Air Force (IAF) helicopter successfully intercepted an Iranian UAV that was launched from Syria and infiltrated Israel. The aircraft was identified by the Aerial Defense Systems early on and was under surveillance until the interception.
In response to the incursion, the IAF attacked the Iranian aircraft’s launch components in Syrian territory.
Later, also in response to the Iranian UAV launched at Israeli territory and intercepted by the IAF, IAF aircraft bombed 12 targets in Syria, including three aerial defense batteries and four Iranian targets that are part of Iran’s military establishment in Syria.
During the attack, multiple anti-aircraft missiles were fired at IAF aircraft. One of the Israeli F-16 jets was hit, forcing the two pilots to eject from the aircraft, as per procedure. One was seriously injured.
Syrians and Iranians ‘Are Playing with Fire’
“The Syrians and the Iranians, from our point of view, are playing with fire. The Syrians are playing with fire when they allow the Iranians to attack Israel from their soil. We are willing, prepared, and capable to exact a heavy price on anyone that attacks us. However, we are not looking to escalate the situation,” stated IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus.
“The IDF sees the Iranian attack and the Syrian response as severe violations of Israeli sovereignty. The IDF will continue to act against any attempt to infiltrate Israeli airspace and will act with determination to prevent any breach of Israeli sovereignty,” the IDF stated at the time.
AP contributed to this report.