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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018

    Netanyahu Vows to Counter Alleged Iranian Forward Bases in Syria

    © AP Photo / Sebastian Scheiner
    Middle East
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday vowed to continue fighting against alleged Iranian troops in Syria.

    "Israel will continue doing what it takes to defend itself… We will continue blocking Iran’s attempts to use Syria and Lebanon as its forward bases to launch attacks on Israel," he told reporters.

    Netanyahu was speaking at a joint press briefing in Jerusalem with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is taking part in the seventh meeting of their two governments.

    The top Israeli official called on the international community to exercise pressure on the Islamic republic in order to put an end to Iran's global terrorist operations and force it out of Syria.

    "I think all countries should join forces in compelling Iran to fully stop its military and nuclear programs… and its terrorist activities in Europe and around the world. Eventually, Iranian forces should fully withdraw from Syria," he said.

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in her turn, stated that the alleged presence of Iranian troops in Syria near its border with Israel was unacceptable, adding that the issue was discussed with Russian and Israeli authorities.

    "Iran cannot be present near the border with Israel in the Golan Heights," Merkel said at a press conference during her visit to Jerusalem.

    She noted that this topic had been discussed at a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as previously with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    "We also talked about the fact that Iranian troops should withdraw from Syria. We also discussed this with the Russian president," she said.

    Merkel emphasized that it was necessary to do everything possible to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

    "We adhere to the same point of view as Israel, that everything must be done to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. We intend to continue discussions," Merkel said.

    At the same time, the chancellor noted that she preferred political methods for resolving conflicts in the region.

    Israel has been conducting air raids in Syria against what it claims are arms convoys of the Lebanese paramilitary group Hezbollah. The Israeli military estimates the number of air strikes over the past two years at 200.

    Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Israel
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