The Latest: Israeli PM issues veiled warning to Iran

The Latest on developments related to Israel's Memorial Day (all times local):

5:50 p.m.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issues a veiled warning to Iran, saying his country will defend itself against anyone that tries to harm it.

The premier's remarks at a Memorial Day ceremony on Wednesday come amid rising tensions between Israel and Iran over an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria last week that left at least four Iranian military personnel dead.

On Wednesday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called for "offensive plans against the enemy," without specifically naming Israel.

Netanyahu says Israel will stand firm against "continued incitement by our neighbors, a great many of whom refuse to come to terms with our existence," and cautions that "anyone who raises a hand against us won't be spared."

The Israeli prime minister delivered the remarks hours before Israel celebrates its 70th anniversary.


11:15 a.m.

Israelis have come to a two-minute standstill to remember fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism as the country marks Memorial Day, one of the most somber days on its calendar.

Motorists pulled over on the sides of highways and roads, and pedestrians stopped in their tracks as a siren rang out at 11 a.m. Wednesday. A minute of silence was similarly observed on Tuesday evening.

Israelis are visiting cemeteries and attending remembrance ceremonies. Radio and television networks broadcast programs about battle and loss.

The melancholic atmosphere is to end abruptly at sundown, when Israel's 70th Independence Day celebrations start.

Israel has fought half a dozen wars with Arab countries since its establishment in 1948, battled two Palestinian uprisings and endured dozens of deadly militant attacks.