Haaretz and Associated Press – February 21, 2005
Israel Air Force Commander-in-Chief Major General Eliezer Shakedi said Monday that Israel must be prepared for an air strike on Iran in light of its nuclear activity.
But in a meeting with reporters, Shakedi wouldn't say whether he thought Israel was capable of carrying out such a mission alone, as it did when it bombed an unfinished Iraqi nuclear reactor near Baghdad in 1981.
When asked whether Israel has a plan for the Iranian nuclear program, Shakedi replied, "You know that for obvious reasons, I won't say even a word."
But when asked whether he was confident the air force could provide the answer to the Iranian threat, Shakedi replied, "I must be prepared for everything."
The Israeli air force commander also discussed the fluid situation in neighboring Lebanon.
The assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri "can create a new picture in Lebanon," Shakedi said.
With Syria, Hezbollah guerrillas and Hezbollah's Iranian benefactors all operating in Lebanon, "we understand who has interests" in Hariri being out of the picture, he said.
Asked whether the IAF has changed its deployment since the assassination, he replied, "Of course we won't let the other side hit us."
"We have a job to protect the citizens of Israel," Shakedi said. "I hope that there won't be a war - but you know, no one knows."
Last updated 13/04/2005