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Israeli lawmaker: Netanyahu stirring regional war to deflect attention from corruption probe

Israeli lawmaker Aida Touma-Suleiman

An Israeli lawmaker says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to instigate a regional war to deflect attention from an ongoing investigation into his suspicious corrupt practices.

Aida Touma-Suleiman from the Joint List, which comprises Arab representatives at the Israeli parliament Knesset, made the remarks after Israel seriously escalated its intervention in the Syria war on Saturday.

Netanyahu and his regime “are submerged up to their necks in corruption affairs, on the eve of the publication of the [police] recommendations,” said the lawmaker.

“Netanyahu is willing to instigate a regional war in which the peoples of the region will pay a heavy price just for his political survival,” she added.

Tensions took a dangerous turn on Saturday after Israeli warplanes attacked several targets inside Syria. The Syrian army shot down at least one of the jets – a US-made F-16 – after months of warning to Israel about such raids.

Tel Aviv, which has repeatedly attacked Syrian army positions in the past, claimed that the aerial attack came in response to an “Iranian” drone intrusion into its airspace but both Tehran and Damascus dismissed the claim.

Read: Israel will never go to war with Syria or Iran

Syria said its army had flown the drone to hunt down Daesh terrorists when an Israeli helicopter crossed the border and shot it down.

Netanyahu is the subject of two high-profile graft cases. In Case 1000, he is suspected of having received gifts from businessmen overseas. He is also being investigated in Case 2000 for an alleged media bribery scheme to help Yediot Aharonot newspaper against its competitor Yisrael Hayom in return for favorable coverage.

Over the past few months, thousands of Israelis have been rallying outside the house of Israeli attorney general Avichai Mandelblit in the city of Petah Tikva every week to call for Netanyahu’s prosecution.

In their latest rally, the protesters accused Mandelblit of receiving monetary gifts from a number of businessmen, which may have affected the investigation process.

Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich, meanwhile, said officers investigating Netanyahu had been followed and put under pressure.

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