Netanyahu visits northern front

Enemies seeking to violate Jerusalem’s red lines on national security interests will receive a reminder of Israel’s unrelenting resolve, pledged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

By Jonathan Hessen and Erin Viner

The Israeli leader, accompanied on his tour of the IDF Northern Command by Defense Minister Major General (Reserve) Yoav Gallant, newly appointed National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi and IDF Deputy Chief of General Staff Major General Amir Baram.

The top brass were provided with an updated situation assessment of Israel’s preparedness vis-à-vis and tour of the operational troops and air defense personnel in the area by Northern Commander Major General Ori Gordin. Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Gallant thanked the forces for their dedication and their readiness to safeguard the security of the State of Israel around the clock.

“The main enemy that we face is the terrorist regime in Iran and its proxies in Syria and Lebanon,” stated Prime Minister Netanyahu, stressing his nation’s determination to fight intent by the Islamic Republic “to develop a nuclear arsenal,” entrench itself militarily in Syria or spur it’s Hezbollah terrorist proxy “to show aggression against us in Lebanon.”

The Israeli Premier further underscored: “Whoever needs a reminder about our red lines on this matter will receive it.”

Defense Minister Gallant stated that he came with the Prime Minister to Northern Command” to closely monitor the readiness of the IDF and the security services in the face of the changing security challenges,” while also underscoring that, “the security establishment will prevent Iran from entrenching in Syria and will sever the channels by which Iranian weaponry is transferred to Lebanon and Hezbollah. The quiet in the north is an important goal; therefore, in addition to maintaining quiet, we will take strong action against any attempt to attack Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers.”

The IDF conducted an exercise in its northern Galilee region yesterday during which the artillery corps used live fire in the direction of Mount Dov, causing loud explosions in the area. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit highlighted that the drill was part of the military’s pre-scheduled exercises planned for 2023.

In related developments, the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) revealed on Tuesday that its forces prevented the attempted smuggling of 2,000 assault rifles in international waters in the Gulf of Oman on 6 January.

The attempt “highlights the instability that is fomented by countries like Iran when they have conducted these types of shipments in the past,” commented CENTCOM Commander General Michael Kurilla, adding, “So, certainly, we’re going to continue to do our part in the region to help maintain security and stability and work closely with our partners and allies to prevent these types of shipments from reaching their destination,”while US Naval Forces Commander Vice Admiral Brad Cooper stressed that “this shipment is part of a continued pattern of destabilizing activity from Iran.”

Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said that the “US Navy Central Command has been, obviously, present in that region for a very long time and continues to work very closely with our partners and our allies in that region to do exactly that. To prevent potential illicit shipment and to ensure that those waterways remain safe, secure and stable,” while detailing that the 2,000 AK-47s (were) traversing a route that has been used in the past by Iran to send weapons illegally to the Houthi rebels in Yemen.”