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Israeli Defense Minister: Israel Will Retaliate if Aircraft Attacked

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JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned if Syria attacks its aircraft with Russian-supplied S-300 air defense batteries, Israel will retaliate.

"What's important to us is that the defensive weapons the Russians are giving Syria won't be used against us," Lieberman told the Israeli daily Ynet.com. "If they're used against us, we'll act against them."

Lieberman was equally unimpressed by a Reuters' report alleging that Israel asked Russia not to provide the Syrian regime with S-300s, saying most of these reports  "have no basis in reality."

"One thing should be clear," he said. "If anyone is shooting at our planes, we'll destroy them."

While Israel does steer clear of the Syrian regime's internal affairs, he said, neither will it allow the Iranians to provide advanced weapons systems to use against the Jewish state.

Lieberman said Israel and Russia maintain a working relationship in Syria, calling it an "open discourse" that allows "coordination" and "avoids friction."

Meanwhile, Iranian Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani told reporters that Iran will punish Israel for the airstrike on the T-4 airbase in Homs, which killed several Iranian officers and soldiers, the Times of Israel reported.

"The Islamic Republic paid a high price to establish regional security and to fight radical Islamic terrorism, and therefore it cannot sit idly by in the face of the alarming escalation which undermines security that is expressed in the steps of the United States, the Zionist entity and some of their allies," Shamkhani reportedly said before boarding the flight to Russia.

Shamkhani said Syrian President Bashar Assad asked Iranian advisors to help fight terrorists and defeat radical Islamists there.

"Punishing the Zionist entity is inevitable, but the question of when, where and how to respond to the aggressor [Israel] will be determined by the Islamic Republic of Iran," he concluded.

While Israel maintained its usual silence on the recent airstrike in Homs, Russian, Iranian and Syrian officials claimed Israel targeted the Iranian air defense system with support from the US administration.

Last week, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami threatened Israel when he stated that all of Israel's military bases were within reach.

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