‘Do not test Israel’, Netanyahu tells Iran, brandishing drone ‘piece’

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office. / AFP PHOTO / AP / Sebastian Scheiner

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Tehran on Saturday over aggressions by what he called Iran and its “proxies” in Syria, while showing what he claimed was a piece of an Iranian drone shot down in Israeli airspace.

Saying he had “a message to the tyrants of Tehran” during a speech at the Munich Security Conference, he warned: “Do not test Israel’s resolve.”

He brandished a rectangular piece of dark green metal which he called “a piece of that Iranian drone, or what’s left of it, after we shot it down.”

Israel has said it shot down the drone on February 10 after it entered the country from Syria, and responded with a raid on what it said was the Iranian control systems for the craft in Syria.

During the strikes, one of Israel’s F-16 fighter jets was shot down, believed to be the first loss of an Israeli plane in combat since 1982.

Israel’s response marked the first time it publicly acknowledged hitting Iranian targets in Syria since the 2011 start of the civil war there.

Calling Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif the “smooth-talking mouthpiece of Iran’s regime,” Netanyahu said: “Mr. Zarif, do you recognise this? You should, it’s yours.”

Again referring to Zarif, who is expected to speak later in Munich, the Israeli leader said: “No doubt Mr Zarif will brazenly deny Iran’s involvement in Syria.””He lies with eloquence.”

The Israeli military has claimed the drone was a copy of a US model captured by Iran in 2011, based on an analysis of the drone’s debris.