The Israeli military has closed a ski resort in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights due to concerns over what it calls possible threats from Iranian-backed groups in Lebanon and Syria, or Palestinian resistance movements Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.
The closing of the Mount Hermon resort — the target of a previous missile attack — came after the Pentagon confirmed that US President Donald Trump had ordered the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force.
“Considering the situation, it was decided that the Hermon site would not be open to visitors today,” said the Israeli army in a tweet. “There are no additional guidelines for Golan residents, and the routine continues.”
Israel’s Defence Minister, right-winger Naftali Bennett, called for a situation assessment with the heads of the defence establishment at military headquarters in Tel Aviv.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Greece was cut short. He is returning to Israel amid fears that Iran will exact revenge on the occupation state for America’s assassination of the Iranian general.
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Netanyahu arrived in Athens on Thursday for “a very important” meeting with the leaders of Greece and Cyprus over the construction of a pipeline that would take Palestinian and Cypriot natural gas to Europe via Greece.
The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, has condemned the US assassination of the senior Iranian military commander, as did Islamic Jihad. Soleimani was killed in a US air strike in Iraq earlier today. In separate statements, both Palestinian factions put the instability in the region down to Washington’s unconditional support for the occupation state of Israel.
Despite Israeli media advisers instructing ministers in Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition government not to comment publicly on Soleimani’s killing, former Finance Minister Yair Lapid tweeted his congratulations to Trump for killing those who he believes are responsible for “murderous terrorist acts from Damascus to Buenos Aires”.
Yair Lapid in response to the US strike that killed Qasem Soleimani:
“I congratulate President Trump and the entire Middle East on the strike that killed Qasem Soleimani. He planned and led deadly terror attacks from Damascus to Buenos Aires.
— Blue and White (@YeshAtidEng) January 3, 2020
General Soleimani had been “the most effective force” fighting Daesh terrorists in Iraq and Syria, said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. He denounced Soleimani’s assassination as an example of the “malice and stupidity of the terrorist American forces.”