Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

“If someone tries to attack you – rise up and attack him,” Netanyahu declared, while refraining from comment on Russia’s allegations that Israel was responsible for a powerful strike on a Syrian airbase Monday.

By: TPS and United with Israel Staff

Israeli officials have remained silent after Russia said Monday that Israeli jets conducted a strike on a Syrian airbase that left 14 people dead, including at least four Iranian military officials.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while neither confirming nor denying the reports, made a cryptic reference to the incident. Speaking at a ceremony marking a major housing development in the southern city of Sderot the same day, he said, “We have one clear and simple rule and we seek to express it constantly: If someone tries to attack you – rise up and attack him.”

“The first thing that is happening here may be summarized in one word – security: Security for Sderot, security for the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, security for the Negev, security for Israel, security in the future,” the prime minister continued, alluding to the violent Hamas protests at the border with Israel, where tens of thousands of Palestinians have been burning tires, throwing Molotov cocktails at IDF troops and attempting to infiltrate into Israeli territory.

“We will not allow, here on the Gaza border, them to hurt us. We will hurt them.

“Security in the present is a necessary condition for security in the future, and what we have here today is a powerful expression for our future security,” he concluded.

Former OC Southern Command Yoav Galant also alluded to the strike when, at the same event, he said, “Syria cannot become a springboard for weapons transfers to Lebanon.”

Russia’s defense ministry said that Israel had carried out the overnight strike on the T-4 airfield between Homs and Palmyra, some 250 kilometers from Damascus.

“Two Israeli Air Force F-15 jets fired eight guided missiles at the T-4 airfield,” the Russian defense ministry said in a statement. “The Israeli aircraft did not enter Syrian airspace and launched the strikes while flying over Lebanon.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the strike on the base a “very dangerous development.”

Iran admitted that four of its soldiers had been “martyred” in the attack, while a foreign ministry spokesman in Tehran said the “Israeli strike in Syria would deepen the crisis in the country.”

Israel has repeatedly stated that it will not allow Iran to establish itself militarily in Syria.