Israel has been put on high alert and prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cut short his visit to Greece after US assassination of Iran’s top commander Major General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.
AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Israel has been put on high alert and prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cut short his visit to Greece after US assassination of Iran’s top commander Major General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.
Israeli media reported early Friday morning that Netanyahu intended to shorten his trip to Athens and would return to Tel Aviv, "in light of recent developments."
Netanyahu arrived in Athens on Thursday for “a very important” meeting with the leaders of Greece and Cyprus over the construction of a pipeline that would take Palestinian and Cypriot natural gas to Europe via Greece.
“We have established an alliance in the Middle East, an alliance that is of enormous importance to the energy future of Israel, to it becoming an energy power, and for stability in the region,” he said upon departure from Tel Aviv.
The news of his early return came after the US assassination the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in Iraq.
The Pentagon confirmed that President Donald Trump had ordered the assassination.
In another development, the Israel military said it has put its forces on high alert over what it called possible threats from Iran. Israel has also closed Mount Hermon, the ski resort in the occupied Golan Heights, to visitors.
"Considering the situation, it was decided that the Hermon site would not be open to visitors today. There are no additional guidelines for Golan residents, and the routine continues,” said the military forces in a Twitter message.
According to previous US reports, Israel had attempted to assassinate the Iranian commander in 2008.
The US' act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani—THE most effective force fighting Daesh (ISIS), Al Nusrah, Al Qaeda et al—is extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation.
General Soleimani had been “the most effective force” fighting Daesh terrorists in Iraq and Syria, and other Takfiri groups such as al-Nusrah and al-Qaeda as well, said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who denounced Soleimani’s assassination as “malice and stupidity of the terrorist American forces.”