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Terrorism & Security

US officials: Israeli military exercise was preparation for attack on Iran's nuke plant

The exercise involved more than 100 jet fighters, helicopters, and air-refueling tankers, according to a new report.

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But the Jerusalem Post reports that even if Israel did launch a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, it's unlikely to be able to destroy Iran's nuclear program completely, according to Israeli military analyst Martin Van Creveld of Jerusalem's Hebrew University.

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"Israel has been talking about this possibility for a long time, that it would not take an Iranian nuclear weapon lying down. And it has been practicing the operation or operations for a long time," he said.
But though an Israeli strike would likely be able to "paralyze the most important Iranian nuclear installations," it probably won't be able to destroy the program entirely, Van Creveld said. "I would be very surprised if Israel can really knock out every part of this program, which by all accounts appears to be large and well concealed and well dispersed," he said.

Further, in an article examining Iran's options for retaliation against an attack by the US, The Christian Science Monitor suggests that Israel is a viable target for counterattack by Shahab-3 ballistic missiles from Iran or smaller rockets from Lebanon, launched by Iran-supported Hezbollah. And the Monitor adds that Iran has attacked Israeli interests farther abroad, making an Iranian response to attack very hard to predict.

Iran and Hezbollah are alleged to have collaborated in the May 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in revenge for Israel's killing of a Hezbollah leader months before. Argentine prosecutors charge that they jointly struck again in 1994, bombing a Jewish community center in the Argentine capital that killed 85, one month after Israel attacked a Hezbollah base in Lebanon.
With some 30,000 on the payroll by one count, Iranian intelligence "is a superpower in intelligence terms in the region; they have global reach because of their reconnaissance ability and quite sophisticated ways of inflicting pain," says [Magnus Ranstorp of the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defense College in Stockholm]. "They have been expanding their influence.... Who would have predicted that Argentina would be the area that Hezbollah and the Iranians collectively would respond?"
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