LONDON: A commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard threatened Sunday to hit America “in the head” if it made a military move, the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) reported.
Amirali Hajizadeh, the head of the Guard's aerospace division, also said that America’s military presence in the Gulf used to be a serious threat but now it’s an opportunity.
"An aircraft carrier that has at least 40 to 50 planes on it and 6000 forces gathered within it was a serious threat for us in the past but now...the threats have switched to opportunities," Hajizadeh said.
The US military has sent forces, including an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers, to the Middle East to counter what the Trump administration says are “clear indications” of threats from Iran to US forces there.
The USS Abraham Lincoln is replacing another carrier rotated out of the Gulf last month.
Earlier on Sunday, an Israeli cabinet minister warned of possible direct or proxy Iranian attacks on Israel should the stand-off between Tehran and Washington escalate.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, which supports Trump’s hard tack against its arch-foe, has largely been reticent about the spiralling tensions.
Parting with the silence, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said that, in the Gulf, “things are heating up.”
“If there’s some sort of conflagration between Iran and the United States, between Iran and its neighbors, I’m not ruling out that they will activate Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad from Gaza, or even that they will try to fire missiles from Iran at the State of Israel,” Steinitz, a member of Netanyahu’s security cabinet, told Israel’s Ynet TV.
Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad are Iranian-sponsored guerrilla groups on Israel’s borders, the former active in Syria as well as Lebanon and the latter in the Palestinian territories.
The Israeli military declined to comment when asked if it was making any preparations for possible threats linked to the Iran-US standoff.
Israel has traded blows with Iranian forces in Syria, as well as with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Palestinian militants. But it has not fought an open war with Iran, a country on the other side of the Middle East.