January 8, 2020 - 18:30 AMT
Netanyahu: Israel will hit back hard if attacked

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday, January 8, after an Iranian missile strike on U.S.-led forces in Iraq, that Israel would hit back hard against anyone who attacked his country, Reuters reports.

Netanyahu reiterated his praise for U.S. President Donald Trump for the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani last week, calling it a bold move.

The Israeli leader said Soleimani had tried to destabilize the region for decades and was “planning much worse.”

Without directly referencing Iran’s missile strikes overnight, in what Tehran called retaliation for the general’s death in Baghdad, Netanyahu said in a speech in Jerusalem that Israel stood beside the United States.

“Whoever tries to attack us will be dealt the strongest blow,” Netanyahu said, accusing Iran of leading a campaign to “strangle and destroy” Israel.

Soleimani was killed by a drone strike in Baghdad in a dramatic escalation of tensions between Washington and Tehran. His death sparked fury and grief across Iran, where he was revered as a national hero and icon.

In retaliation, Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops in the early hours of Wednesday. No casualties were reported.