Tensions in the Middle East continue to rise with a senior Iranian official threatening to “level Tel Aviv to the ground,” The Jerusalem Post reported.
The comment, initially reported by Fars New Agency, came in response to Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks at the Munich Security Conference held this week.
Both nations are on edge after Iran was accused of continually invading Tel Aviv airspace and ignoring warnings from the Israeli military.
Mohsen Rezaei, secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council, warned Israel on Monday that “[if] they [Israel] carry out the slightest unwise move against Iran, we will level Tel Aviv to the ground.”
Rezaei also reportedly threatened the Prime Minister’s life, explicitly stating that they would “not give any opportunity to Netanyahu to flee.”
Rezaei’s statement came as a result of a recent altercation between Israel and Iran on Feb. 10 when an Israel Air Force attack helicopoter shot down an Iranian-operated done. The Israel Air Force later took out the drone’s command center in Syria, as well.
While claims of the downed drone were “too ridiculous to be addressed,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi also said on the confrontation that “[the] government and army of Syria have a legitimate right to defend [the country’s] territorial integrity and counter any type of foreign aggression.”
It was the first time an Iranian drone had crossed into Israeli airspace since the start of the Syrian civil war.
Netanyahu had his own remarks in Munich, expressing that Israel “will act not just against Iran’s proxies that are attacking us, but against Iran itself.”
While the war of words between the two nations and occasional military confrontation is nothing new, tensions have escalated in recent years perpetuating the decades-long conflict in the area.
In a recent interview with Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar News, Rezeaei had harsh words for the United States, as well.
“The U.S. and Israeli leaders do not know Iran and do not understand the power of resistance and therefore they continuously face defeat,” he said.
The U.S. has recently become a bigger player in the Middle East conflict, with President Donald Trump recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and intending to move the U.S. embassy there.
“Today, the situation of the U.S. and Israel indicate their fear of the Zionist regime’s collapse and the U.S. decline,” Rezaei added.
The Munich Security Council is the premier independent forum for the exchange of views by international security policy decision-makers. Each year, more than 350 senior officials from 70 countries engage in debate on current and future security challenge.