'IDF staged drills over Gibraltar, in preparation for Iran strike'
Haaretz – May 3, 2009
The Israel Air Force recently staged military exercises between Israel and the British colony of Gibraltar near southern Spain, the French magazine L'Express reported on Saturday.
The fact that the drills were held 3,800 kilometers away from Israel "confirms that the Israel Defense Forces is making concrete preparations" to attack Iran over its refusal to cooperate with the international community over its contentious nuclear program, according to L'Express.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed last week that Israel would not attack Iran even if the international sanctions against Tehran fail to convince President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to give up his country's nuclear program, in an interview with the Austrian daily Kleine Zeitung.
But The London Times reported a few weeks ago that the IDF was indeed making preparations to be able to launch a massive aerial assault on Iran's nuclear facilities, to be carried out within days of being given the go-ahead by Israel's government.
"Israel wants to know that if its forces were given the green light they could strike at Iran in a matter of days, even hours. They are making preparations on every level for this eventuality. The message to Iran is that the threat is not just words," one senior Israeli defense official told The Times.
The London Times report appeared to be an Israeli message to Iran conveying its capability and readiness to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.
The report included a nation-wide home front drill, scheduled for June, among what it calls Israel's intensive preparations for the possibility of an attack, aiming to prepare Israel's civilians for the possible consequences of an attack on Iran.
"We would not make the threat [against Iran] without the force to back it. There has been a recent move, a number of on-the-ground preparations, that indicate Israel's willingness to act," another official from Israel's intelligence community told the Times.
Last updated 06/05/2009