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Thu Sep 29 00:11:52 SAST 2016

Israeli military ready for action in Iran: military

Sapa-dpa | 22 April, 2012 12:02
An Israeli F-15 fighter jet takes off from Hatzerim air force base in the Negev desert near the southern Israeli city of Beersheva. File photo.
Image by: AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ

The Israeli military is ready for action in Iran if need be, Israel's army chief of staff said in remarks published Sunday.

"In principal, we are ready for action," Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz said in an interview with Yediot Ahronot, Israel's biggest-selling daily.

He believes 2012 will be a critical year as far as Iran's nuclear programme was concerned, Yediot said.

"The state of Israel believes that a nuclear Iran is very bad, that the world must stop it and that Israel must stop it and we are preparing our plan accordingly," he said.

"We are the only nation in the world, with someone calling for its destruction, while building the means to do so," he said, but added:

"But that doesn't mean that I'm sending [Israel Air Force chief] Ido [Nehustan] to Iran right now."

Gantz added that covert actions against Israel's enemies around the globe had gone up by "tens of per cent, even more" and that almost not a moment went by without Israel taking action somewhere in the world.

Asked if Iran is an existential threat, he said, "the potential exists. At the moment, in my estimation, this is not the case."

In case of a war, Israel would be able to cope with rocket fire from Gaza and Lebanon, he said, but warned Hassan Nasrallah, the chief of the radical Shiite Hezbollah movement, that launching missiles from southern Lebanon would cost him dearly.

"I can't promise that there won't fall missiles here. They will fall, many of them. It won't be a simple war, not at the front and not in the rear. But I don't advise anyone to test us on this matter. When Nasrallah gets out of his bunker, he is very worried - and rightly so.

"He saw what happened to Lebanon the last time. And it doesn't come near what will happen to Lebanon the next time. I think they understand that very well."

He was referring to the 2006 conflict with Lebanon.

Yediot said it would publish the full interview on the eve of Israel's Independence Day Wednesday.

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