Israel capable of attacking Iran nuclear facilites: ex-general

June 28th, 2008 - 7:29 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of F-16
Berlin, June 28 (DPA) Israel is capable of a successful military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, a former air force general has said in an interview published Saturday by German news magazine Der Spiegel. “We could do it today,” Isaac Ben-Israel, a member of Israeli parliament representing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Kadima Party, said.

Ben-Israel, who is reported to have helped in planning the 1981 air raid on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor, acknowledged that hitting Iran’s scattered nuclear facilities would be more difficult.

But he said the only factor holding Israel back was the possibility of resolving the dispute over Iran’s nuclear activities by other means.

“Only once the critical point has been reached will we choose the final option,” Ben-Israel told the weekly.

That point would be decided on the basis of information from Israel’s intelligence services, he said.

Ben-Israel expressed doubt that Iran’s leaders would use a nuclear weapon on Israel directly.

“They would not be that crazy, but they could for example give the bomb to Hezbollah. I think they are crazy enough for that,” he said.

In October, Israel confirmed it had carried out an airstrike Sep 6, targeting the al-Kibar complex in Syria’s north-eastern desert.

The former general acknowledged that the Israeli air force had recently conducted an exercise over the Mediterranean to simulate a raid on Iran.

“It was not the first such exercise, and it won’t be the last,” he said.

The New York Times reported last week that more than 100 F-16 and F-15 fighters had participated in the exercise, carried out over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece during the first week of June.

While the Israeli government has made clear it is keeping its options on Iran open, Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz came in for sharp criticism earlier this month when he said in a newspaper interview that sanctions had failed and that there was “no alternative” to a military attack.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany are currently engaged in a diplomatic attempt to pressure Tehran to abandon uranium enrichment.

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