Amid continued foreign reports of , Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened the weekly cabinet meeting on Wednesday saying Israel is acting “near and far” to prevent Iranian entrenchment in Syria.
“Israel is determined to prevent Iran and its proxies from establishing a military presence in Syria,” he said. “We are taking strong action against these attempts and against the attempts to produce precision weaponry in all sectors, near and far. We will continue to take such action on behalf of the security of Israel.”
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The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Israel struck military targets in the Hama and Tartus provinces on Tuesday. The group said three Syrian soldiers were killed, and 23 people – nine of them Iranians – were injured.
The IDF revealed on Tuesday that in the last 18 months the army has carried out more than 200 strikes against Iranian targets inside Syria to prevent them from establishing a permanent military presence there.
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Earlier in the day, at a meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, Netanyahu said that Israel and Bulgaria are “part of the same civilization,” and that civilization is “under attack by a variety of forces, most notably the forces of militant Islam, and the terror it espouses. It attacks us, it attacks Arabs, it attacks Europeans, it attacks Americans, it attacks everyone. And it attacked you in Bulgaria,” he said in reference to the Hezbollah attack in Burgas in 2012 that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver.
Borissov, on a two-day trip here, is scheduled to meet the relatives of the Israeli victims of that attack during his visit. He and Netanyahu also dedicated a monument in Tel Aviv in honor of Bulgaria’s saving Jews during the Holocaust.
This is Borissov’s second trip here in less than three months. He turned to the Bulgarian media during his photo opportunity with Netanyahu before their meeting and, in what seems an explanation for his frequent visits, said that Netanyahu is an “extremely informed persona and politician” and that these meetings allows him to stay abreast of trends in the region.
Likewise, he said, “Israel is a country that balances relations with the United States and Russia.”
Netanyahu said that he appreciated Bulgaria’s decision in late June to open an honorary consulate in Jerusalem, and hoped it would be the first step towards establishing the Bulgarian embassy in Jerusalem.
Borissov was non-committal, however.
In June, in an address to the American Jewish Committee Global Forum, Borissov said that Bulgaria is “convinced that the Jewish people’s relation to Jerusalem is indisputable,” and that his country is “not indifferent to the wish of the Jewish population of Israel and of world Jewry and to the right of Israel, being a sovereign state, to decide which city will be its capital and to insist that it be internationally recognized.”
At the same time, however, he made clear Bulgaria had no intention to move its embassy.
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