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Netanyahu Pledges to Continue Attacks Against Iran in Syria

Netanyahu Pledges to Continue Attacks Against Iran in Syria

Thursday, 11 October, 2018 - 06:45
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem October 7, 2018. Abir Sultan/Pool via REUTERS/ MANILA BULLETIN
Tel Aviv - Asharq Al-Awsat
Russia's Vice Premier Maxim Akimov on Wednesday expressed hopes in improved relations with Israel after tension following the accidental Syrian downing of a Russian plane during an Israeli air strike in Syria last month.

“Now we feel the good spirit and strong will [of our] leaders to continue both cooperation in the socio-economic sphere and political dialogue [regarding] the resolution of difficult problems in the Middle East,” Akimov said during his short trip to Israel.

His comments came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he told Russia's vice premier that Israel must continue to hit hostile targets in neighboring Syria.

Netanyahu said at a press conference that he told Akimov that Israel would continue to fight what it says are Iranian attempts to entrench itself militarily in Syria and channel advanced weaponry to Lebanon’s “Hezbollah.”

Despite the delivery of the S-300 air defense systems to the Syrian military, Israel was committed as a matter of self-defense to continue its "legitimate activity in Syria against Iran and its proxies, which state their intention to destroy us", Netanyahu said.

It was his first publicized meeting with a senior Russian official since the Syrian downing of the Russian plane.

Fifteen Russians were killed in the September 17 incident that Moscow blamed on Israel, accusing its pilots of using the larger Russian plane as cover.

Israel disputes the Russian findings and says its jets were back in Israeli airspace when the plane was downed.

In response, Moscow announced new measures to protect its military in Syria, including equipping Damascus with S-300 air defense systems.

Netanyahu, who met Akimov on the sidelines of meetings of a bilateral economics committee, said he believed that the current dispute with Moscow would be resolved.

"I think that with common sense and goodwill we can come to a solution that will allow the continuation of the good coordination between the Russian and Israeli militaries," he said. 

At the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu said he would meet Russian President Vladimir Putin soon to discuss coordination.

The leaders have spoken at least three times by phone since the September incident.

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