IRANIAN COMMANDER: ALL OF ISRAEL WITHIN REACH OF HEZBOLLAH’S MISSILES
Tehran deployed some of its warships to Bab el-Mandeb strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden.
BY ANNA AHRONHEIM
The Jerusalem Post
All of Israel is within range of Hezbollah’s missiles, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari said in an interview with Iranian media on Sunday.
“The current status quo and the current capabilities of the Resistance Front of the Islamic Revolution are all the unique accomplishments of the Islamic Revolution which cannot be verbally described and they rather should be sensed,” he said in an interview with the Persian-language Soroush Magazine.
“While they once dreamed of their territorial expansion from the Nile River to the Euphrates River, and they were after realizing this wish in the past 50 years, today you can see that they have been unable to expand their land even for an inch; they even have lost some of the territories they had already occupied and are under full siege from all around their borders,” he continued.
Israel and Hezbollah last fought a war – the Second Lebanon War – in 2006, and has since then morphed from a guerrilla group to an army with a set hierarchy and procedures. With the help of Iran, it has rebuilt its arsenal since 2006 and has hundreds of thousands of short-range rockets and several thousand more missiles that can reach deeper into Israel.
“To put it in a nutshell, we can say that the enemy has not been successful in the region and all its plots and operations have ended up with nothing but failure for them and success for the Islamic Revolution and the Resistance Front,” Jafari said.
Israel’s air defenses currently include the Iron Dome, designed to shoot down short-range rockets, the Arrow system, which intercepts ballistic missiles outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, and the David’s Sling missile defense system, which is designed to intercept tactical ballistic missiles, medium- to long-range rockets, as well as cruise missiles fired at ranges between 40 to 300 km.
In early March, the IDF announced that the United States deployed its THAAD anti-ballistic missile defense system in Israel as part of a month-long joint drill
Built by Lockheed-Martin the THAAD system is considered one of the most advanced systems of its kind in the world, and during the drill will be added to the existing Israeli air defense systems which defend against long-range ballistic missiles, giving the IDF an opportunity to practice it’s integration in the IAF Air Defense Array.
Also on Sunday Tehran announced that it had deployed its 61st flotilla to the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait.
“The naval group is on a mission to provide security for the routes used by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) in the area of the Gulf of Aden and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait,” Iranian Navy’s Southern Fleet Rear Admiral Afshin Tashk was quoted as saying by PressTV.
The flotilla includes the “Bayandor” destroyer, the Bushehr logistic warship and the Lavan warship.
The deployment of the fleet comes two weeks after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel’s navy could stop illicit Iranian oil shipments.
“Iran is trying to bypass the sanctions on it through the covert smuggling of petroleum via the sea. As these attempts expand, the navy will have a more important role in efforts to block these Iranian actions,” Netanyahu said at a navy cadets’ graduation ceremony in Haifa in early March, adding that he calls “on the international community to halt, by any means, Iran’s attempts to bypass the sanctions via the sea.”
The deployment also comes less than a month after a large-scale naval exercise in the Persian Gulf and strategic Strait of Hormuz.
Iran has been working to upgrade its navy, with new vessels and submarines introduced to bolster the country’s aging fleet and recently announced that it had commissioned its first domestically developed submarine capable of firing cruise missiles.
A comparison between Iran and Israel shows that while Iran has a significantly larger naval assets than Israel (398 versus 65) Iran has a total coastline of 2,440 km. compared to Israel’s 273 km.