MAY 11 2006



Israel will strike Iran’s nuclear facilities in the next “month or two or three,” an Israeli official has been quoted here as saying


The unnamed official told Arnaud de Borchgrave, editor-in-chief of the United Press International (UPI), at the recently held national day reception at the Israeli Embassy that he believed Israel would strike Iran first in the next two or three months and that fighter bombers would not be involved as they had been to take out Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor before it went critical in 1981.


For Osirak, Israel had used 14 F-15s and F-16s. This time, the Israeli said, it would be missiles. Asked if Israel would employ Cruise missiles, he replied, “with a gesture of his hand that went up and down again”, which meant that it would be the weapon of choice.


Asked if tunnel entrances to widely scattered Iranian nuclear facilities would be targeted, he responded that Israel had its own geo-stationary spy-in-the-sky satellite taking constant pictures of Iran with a resolution down to 70 centimetres.


“We know far more than anyone realises,” he added.


De Borchgrave’s report quoted a poll of conservative Republicans by a conservative web-based news service, which showed overwhelmingly strong support for bombing Iran.


Almost 60,000 people took part in the poll and 88 percent agreed that Iran poses a greater threat than Saddam Hussein did before the Iraq War. To the question, “Should the US undertake military action against Iran to stop their (nuclear) programme?” 77 percent replied yes, 23 percent said no.


 Forty-five percent said that military action should be taken by the United States, while 35 percent wanted Israel to do that.


Twenty percent said neither. As for whether US efforts to contain Iran’s nuclear weapons are working, 93 percent said they were not, while 89 percent said the US should not rely solely on the UN.


According to de Borchgrave, “Israel has developed some 100 Jericho-II medium-range ballistic missiles (which entered service in 1989). Jericho II’s range varies from 1,500 to 3,500 kilometres, depending on payload weight.


They are deployed in underground caves and silos.


Israel has several satellites in orbit Ofeq-1 through Ofeq 5 that were launched by Shavit space launch vehicles (SLV). The first two stages of the Shavit were Jericho II missiles. There are unconfirmed reports of an upgraded Jericho 3 missile with a range of over 3,000 kilometres.





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