Israel will defend itself by any means, says Netanyahu

Jerusalem, Aug 27 (IANS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hit back at the critics following a series of recent air strikes across the Middle East.

Netanyahu also accused Iran of producing "terror attacks" and said Israel would defend itself "by any means necessary", the BBC reported.

It comes after reports of strikes against Iranian targets and Iran-backed militias in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

An Israeli official said on Monday that some of the attacks "aren't ours".

Israel's military rarely acknowledges operations in Syria, but said on Saturday that it had struck several sites and thwarted an Iranian attack on Israel "using killer drones".

To curb Iranian influence, Israel is believed to have carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria since the country erupted into civil war 2011.

In a video statement issued on Monday, Netahyanu said: "Iran is working on several fronts to carry out deadly attacks against the state of Israel. Israel will continue to defend its security by all means necessary."

On Sunday, two drones that the Lebanese army said were Israeli crashed in the southern Beirut district of Dahia, which is dominated by Hezbollah.

One of the drones hit a building that houses Hezbollah's media office, while the other exploded and crashed nearby, causing material damage.

A Palestinian militant group also also said on Monday that Israel had struck one of its positions in Lebanon's Bekaa valley.

Israel has not said it carried out these attacks, but Lebanese President Michel Aoun has blamed Israel, saying it was "similar to a declaration of war".

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has also pledged that the group's fighters would shoot down any drones that entered Lebanese airspace.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, paramilitary factions blamed Israel for strikes on Sunday against military sites and weapons depots.

The country's President Barham Salih and Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi have called them an "attack on Iraqi sovereignty".

Israel has not officially declared it was behind those strikes either, but Netanyahu has hinted at its involvement in a series of blasts over the last few weeks.

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon - a member of Israel's security cabinet - said on Monday: "There are things being attributed to us that aren't ours". However he would not go into detail.

Israel has put its military on high alert along its borders with Syria and Lebanon.

Also on Monday US Vice-President Mike Pence tweeted that America "fully supports Israel's right to defend itself from imminent threats".

--IANS

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