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Israeli DM puts new pilots on alert


08:15, June 28, 2013

JERUSALEM, June 27 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Thursday advised newly graduated Israel Air Force (IAF) pilots to be prepared to put their skills to use in short notice in order to strike those seeking "to disrupt our lives here."

Speaking at the graduation ceremony of Class 166 of the IAF's Flight Academy, Ya'alon said the skies over Israel are "covered these days with clouds of threats and challenges," both near and far.

"We are dealing with militant organizations, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who are tirelessly working to arm, and, upon command, violate the quiet(ness) of our southern cities, as happened just this week not far from here," Ya'alon said.

He meanwhile used slashing words to describe the threats from " Hezbollah on the northern border," and Syria, which is undergoing a prolonged domestic crisis.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and Israel Defense Forces chief Benny Gantz also attended the ceremony at the southern Hatzerim Air Base.

Amid all the challenges Israel is confronted with, Ya'alon said "it continues to extend its hand in peace to its neighbors, but also to maintain preparedness as if war is around the corner."

"We know that anytime and in the face of any development, the IAF will continue to be our long and fast arm, a critical component in Israel's defensive shield," Ya'alon said.

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