January 31, 2008
Iran’s Air Force is on alert after the country’s president envisaged major regional developments in the wake of the Israeli raids on Gaza.
The chief Iranian Air Force Commander Brigadier General Hassan Shah-Safi said on Wednesday that the ongoing critical situation in the Middle East has prompted the Iranian military to take necessary measures to ensure readiness in the event of the country becoming the target of an offensive.
“Iran’s Air Force has of late carried out 120 successful sorties along with long-range flights of 2,000 kilometers, and has also conducted unprecedented aerial missions,” Brig. Gen. Shah-Safi said.
The Air Force commander added that the enemy has been closely monitoring Iranian military planes. He went on to say that “unless Iran’s military remains constantly vigilant the enemy will deliver a blow, even a minor one, to our forces”.
The remarks come as Israeli strikes on Gaza entered a fifth day, without an end in sight to the largest assault on the beleaguered strip in decades.
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday that the fierce Israeli air assault on Gaza, which “aims to root out Hamas and the Palestinians”, would only lead to the “disintegration of the Israeli regime”.
Facing growing international pressure, Israel’s top leaders have so far rejected the idea of a temporary ceasefire.
Israel is also massing its gunboats near the Gaza port and its ground forces along the border with Gaza in preparation for a possible ground offensive.
Earlier on Monday, a senior Iranian commander floated the idea that the time has come for Muslims to militarily stop Israeli crimes in Gaza.
“Only the military option can save Gaza,” said Brigadier General Mir-Faisal Baqerzadeh, Head of the Foundation for the Remembrance of the Holy Defense.