In a speech on Friday, Tehran cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami warned Israel that an attempt to target Hezbollah would lead to the destruction of Tel Aviv and Haifa. “Hezbollah is stronger today, much stronger than it ever was,” Khatami said.

Ahmad Khatami

Ahmad Khatami Photo Credit: Mostafameraji/Wikimedia Commons

A top Iranian cleric in Tehran has warned Israel that if it “dares” to attack Hezbollah, the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa would be “razed to the ground,” Iranian media outlets reported on Friday. The Islamic cleric referred to recent remarks by Israeli officials concerning the possibility of a potential conflict with the terrorist organization in Lebanon in 2018.

Speaking to a group of worshipers in Tehran on Friday, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami claimed Israel has already attempted to defeat Hezbollah “one or two times,” but the terrorist organization had turned Tel Aviv and Haifa into “ghosts cities” with 70km-range missiles.

“Hezbollah is stronger today, much stronger than it ever was,” Khatami said, as quoted by Iranian news outlets. “I tell the Zionists, if you are willing to see Tel Aviv and Haifa razed to the ground, you can try your chance once again.”

The cleric added that although Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had predicted Israel would not last for 25 years, “maybe the divine ordinance is that they will do something crazy and get eradicated much earlier.” In addition, Khatami addressed the recent statement by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in which he recognized the Jewish people’s right to a homeland, and slammed the royal’s remarks as being “bullshit by a crude young Saudi.”