DM Benny Gantz
DM Benny Gantz Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue and White) on Monday spoke about Iran's attempts to attack Israelis in Istanbul, Turkey.

In a meeting of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Gantz said, "We are dealing with attempts by Iran to carry out a terror attack against Israelis abroad, and especially in Turkey, and I call on citizens to follow instructions."

"I have directed the defense establishment to prepare a powerful response. We have a variety of options at our disposal and we will respond to any harm directed at the citizens of Israeli, at the time and place of our choosing, to any attack by Iran, in any dimension in any place - physical or cybernetic."

"Under the leadership of President Herzog, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister, in cooperation with the Foreign Ministry and security forces, we are strengthening our ties with Turkey. This is an opportunity to express our appreciation to our Turkish colleagues, and to additional security organizations around the world who work with us to ensure the security of the citizens of Israel."

On the issues of the Iranian nuclear threat, Gantz said, "Under US leadership, we are building the ‘Middle East Air Defense Alliance’ (MEAD), which has already thwarted Iranian attempts to threaten Israel and other countries in the region. President Biden’s visit [to the region] will support this process."

Gantz claimed: "In recent months, we have seen two significant achievements bringing the international community together to face the Iranian threat. The first achievement is in keeping the IRGC on the ‘FTO’ list of terror organizations. The second is the IAEA’s condemnation of Iran regarding its noncompliance with investigations and inspections."

"These issues demonstrate once again that Iran is not a partner, and in order to achieve a nuclear agreement that will push Iran back from its ambitions, the entire world, led by our friend the United States, must employ political, economic and military pressure.

"As such, over the past year I have been leading an extensive program together with my partners at the Pentagon and in the US administration, that will strengthen the cooperation between Israel and countries in the region. I hope that we will take another step forward in this aspect during President Biden’s important visit."

On this issue, Gantz noted the "'MEAD' alliance that we are building – the 'Middle East Air Defense Alliance,' in the face of Iran's attempts to attack the region’s countries using rockets, cruise missiles and UAVs. This program is already operative and has already enabled the successful interception of Iranian attempts to attack Israel and other countries."