Netanyahu admits Israel’s aggressiveness: PM

Jerusalem, March 20: Israel inevitably resorts to “aggressive” military action sometimes to maintain security and quiet on its northern frontier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted Wednesday in the wake of Israeli air strikes on Syrian military targets.

“Our policy is very clear: We strike those who strike us,” Xinhua quoted Netanyahu as saying at his cabinet’s weekly meeting. “This policy is necessary to preserve the security of Israeli citizens, and ensure that Israel remains the most stable and secure country in the region.”

The remarks came hours after Israeli warplanes struck Syrian military and security targets in retaliation for a roadside bomb attack on a patrol Tuesday in the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau that Israel captured from Syria in 1967 and later annexed. The bomb attack injured four Israeli soldiers.

Shortly after the incident, the Israeli army retaliated with artillery fire toward Syrian military positions.

“Israel Defense Force (IDF) targeted several Syrian army positions which aided and abetted the attack against IDF personnel yesterday,” an IDF spokesperson said, adding that the targets included a Syrian army training facility, military headquarters and artillery batteries.

It was the first time that Israel officially claimed responsibility for carrying out a strike on Syrian territory.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the air strikes were meant to send a message that Israel would neither tolerate “any violation ” of its sovereignty nor harming of its civilians and troops.

“We hold the Assad regime responsible for what happens in its territory, and if it continues collaborating with terror elements seeking to harm Israel, then we will continue exacting a heavy price from it in a way that will make it regret its actions,” he said.

IANS