Israel has put more extensive plans in place for when it decides to “attack” Iran, Defense Force Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said on Monday.
“We have greatly accelerated our preparations for activities in Iran,” Kochavi told Israeli news site Walla, adding that a considerable increase in the budget has been allocated to that purpose, with more intelligence and operational capabilities assigned.
Israel views long time foe Iran as an existential threat. Tensions between the two has heightened after a slew of tanker attacks, sabotage operations and assassinations.
He added that Israel was ramping up its operations to stem Iran’s influence in Syria specifically.
“The main goal is to reduce Iran’s presence in the Middle East with an emphasis on Syria and elsewhere. Those operations are taking place all over the Middle East, against Hamas [in Palestine], against Hezbollah [in Lebanon],” Kochavi said.
Iran has long been accused of fanning the flames of violence in the Middle East through its network of Shia proxies in the region, specifically in Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen.
Hezbollah and Hamas have long enjoyed financial and military support from Tehran. Israeli defense officials assess Iran spends nearly $1 billion annually on Hezbollah, and $100 million on Hamas.