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Israel Must Be Allowed to Act Freely against Iran, Says Netanyahu from Russia

Israel Must Be Allowed to Act Freely against Iran, Says Netanyahu from Russia

Thursday, 12 September, 2019 - 19:30
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi, Russia September 12, 2019. (Reuters)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Israel must be allowed to act freely against Iran.

He made his remarks from Sochi where he held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on security coordination in Syria.

“Security coordination between us is always important, but it is especially important now, since in the past month there has been a serious increase in attempts by Iran to hit Israel from Syria and to place their precision missiles to use against us,” Netanyahu said at the start of the meeting.

The two leaders have met more than a dozen times in recent years and the countries’ militaries have been working to avoid accidental clashes in Syria, where Israel says it has carried out hundreds of strikes against Iranian targets to stop Tehran establishing a permanent military presence there.

Iran and Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah party have helped regime leader Bashar Assad in the Syrian civil war. Russia, which is also aiding Assad, has largely turned a blind eye to the Israeli air strikes.

Russia’s RIA news said Putin praised military and security cooperation between Russia and Israel.

He also addressed the September 17 elections in Israel, saying the Kremlin has an interest in who wins power.

Putin said "over 1.5 million immigrants from the Soviet Union live in Israel. We always considered them our people, compatriots. And, of course, we are not indifferent to what kind of people will come into the Israeli parliament."

After an earlier meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Netanyahu reiterated that for Israel to ensure its security, its military needed to have “freedom of action” against Iran in the region.

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