Iran gets blustery after Israeli strike; regional armies on high alert

Sunday, February 03, 2013 |  Ryan Jones

Iranian officials at the weekend very publicly and very loudly vowed to smash Israel days after the Jewish state purportedly launched an air strike against a weapons convoy that was transferring advanced Syrian anti-aircraft missiles to Lebanon's Hezbollah terrorist militia.

Israel on Friday indirectly admitted to carrying out the air strike, which targeted a shipment of SA-17 missiles. Hezbollah is working hard to get its hands on Syrian military hardware, and possibly chemical weapons, as the regime of dictator Bashar Assad totters.

Newscasters on Israel's Channel 2 News announced that they could not reveal all they know about the attack, but strongly hinted that the public should believe reports that identify Israel as the attacking force.

Ali Larijani, the speaker of Iran's parliament, said on Sunday that Israel would regret taking that path, and that the Jewish state would soon suffer the consequences of its actions.

A day earlier, the chief of Iran's military, Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, said that the Iranian response to Israel's attack, which will apparently be carried out via Syrian proxies, will "send [the Zionist] regime into a coma."

Syria's ambassador to Lebanon said that his government could at any moment make a "surprise" decision to retaliate against Israel.

The Lebanese newspaper Addiyar Daily reported that the military forces of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan had all gone on high alert in anticipation of an escalation.

Meanwhile, outgoing US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on Friday told the AFP that Washington "fully backed" Israel's decision to attack the arms convoy in Syria.

"The chaos in Syria has obviously created an environment where the possibility of these weapons, you know, going across the border and falling into the hands of Hezbollah has become a greater concern," Panetta said.

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