In remarks broadcast earlier this week, Mr. Netanyahu said the Revolutionary Guards had moved advanced weapons to Syria, including “ground-to-ground missiles and Iranian antiaircraft batteries that would threaten air force jets.”
Analysts say that any new conflict between Israel and Iran could mobilize Iran’s network of proxies from Syria and Lebanon, where the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant movement is based, for a multiple-front attack on northern Israel. Iran is building what Israeli and American officials refer to as a corridor from Iran through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon.
Iran refers to the alignment as “the axis of resistance,” and its defenders say it needs the ability to strike Israel to deter what Iran sees as an Israeli threat. Mr. Netanyahu has previously advocated military strikes on Iran to destroy its nuclear program.
Israel has long accused Iran of carrying out attacks on Israeli targets outside of Israel. The most notorious was the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, which killed at least 85 people and wounded hundreds, regarded as the worst terrorist attack in Argentina.
The Israelis also have accused Iran’s leaders of complicity in attacks targeting Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia in 2012. And they have accused Iran of involvement, through the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, of attacking a bus full of Israeli vacationers in Bulgaria in 2013.
Iran, which considers Israel an illegitimate country, has called Israel’s accusations specious and has blamed Israeli operatives for attacks inside Iran, notably the assassinations of five nuclear scientists, mostly by car bombs.
In interviews on Israeli television on Wednesday night, Israel’s defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, tried to dispel fears of all-out war.
The Israeli security establishment, he said, was operating “responsibly and no one is looking for an escalation or war.” But, he said, “whatever needs to be done in order to defend the citizens of Israel, we will do.”