Tel Aviv rehearses Tehran strike: Exercise in Mediterranean
By Masood Haider; Dawn, June 21, 2008
NEW YORK, June 20: Israel is getting ready to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, analysts at the US Defence Department said on Thursday, citing major military exercises carried out by Tel Aviv earlier this month.
And the New York Times quoted some experts as saying that the Israeli exercise appeared to be an effort to develop the military’s capacity to carry out long-range strikes and to demonstrate the alarm with which the Jewish state sees Iran’s nuclear programme.
More than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters participated in the manoeuvres, which were carried out over the eastern Mediterranean and over Greece during the first week of this month.
The exercise also included helicopters that could be used to rescue downed pilots. The helicopters and refuelling tankers flew more than 1,500kms — almost the same distance as between Israel and Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz.
Many experts on Wall Street believe that if Israel carries out the attack, oil prices could shoot up to uminaginable highs.
A spokesman for the Israeli military would only say that the country’s air force “regularly trains for various missions in order to meet the challenges posed by the threats facing Israel”.
A senior Pentagon official, who was briefed on the exercise, said the exercise appeared to serve multiple purposes.
One Israeli goal, the Pentagon official told the Times, was to practise flight tactics, aerial refuelling and all other details of a possible strike against Iran’s nuclear installations and its long-range conventional missiles.
A second, the official added, was to send a clear message to the US and other countries that Israel was prepared to act militarily if diplomatic efforts to stop Iran from producing bomb-grade uranium continued to falter. “They wanted us to know, they wanted the Europeans to know, and they wanted the Iranians to know,” the Pentagon official said.“There is a lot of signalling going on at different levels.”
Is Israel Poised To Attack Iran? - CBS