North Korea lashed out at Israel on Saturday after Israel’s defense minister called the totalitarian dictatorship a “crazy and radical group,” blamed it of being an ally of Syria’s Assad and the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah and said growing tensions between the U.S. and Pyongyang have “direct implications” for Israel.

A statement released by the North Korean Foreign Ministry called Avigdor Liberman’s statement “reckless” and a form of “sordid and wicked behavior” that posed a “grave challenge to North Korea.”

In the statement, North Korea blasted Israel as the “only illegal possessor of nukes in the Middle East under the patronage of the U.S.” It said Liberman’s comments were part of a “cynical ploy” to escape criticism of the “occupation of the Arab territories” and “crimes against humanity.”

In a warning to Israel, Pyongyang said “Israel would be well advised to think twice about the consequences [of] its smear campaign against North Korea.”

In an interview last week to the news site Walla, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said that tensions between the U.S. and North Korea “have direct implications for Israel.”

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“Kim Jong-un is an ally of Assad. From North Korea, through Iran, to Syria and Hezbollah,” Liberman said, adding that country’s sole goal was “undermining global stability,” and calling the country’s leadership “a crazy and radical group.”

According to foreign reports, North Korea was involved in helping Syria build a nuclear reactor, which was destroyed in an attack attributed to Israel in 2007.

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