World

August 18, 2012

Israel sees month long war after Iran strike

by Amy Teibel
Associated Press

An Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear program could trigger a bloody month long war on multiple fronts, killing hundreds of Israelis or more, the Israeli Cabinet’s civil defense chief warned in an interview published Wednesday.

It was the most explicit assessment yet of how the government sees events unfolding in the aftermath of an Israeli attack.

Matan Vilnai, who is stepping down as the “home front” Cabinet minister to become Israel’s ambassador to China, described the scenarios to Israel’s Maariv daily at a time of heightened debate about the Iranian nuclear threat.

Vilnai, a retired general who was deputy military chief of staff, has spent the past five years overseeing upgrades of Israel’s civil defense systems, including air-raid sirens, bomb shelters and a public alert system.

In the Maariv interview, Vilnai said “the home front is ready as never before.” Nonetheless, he said the country must be braced for heavy casualties in the case of conflict with Iran.

Vilnai said the government has prepared for the possibility of hundreds of rockets and missiles falling on Israeli population centers each day, with the expectation of 500 deaths.

“It could be that there will be fewer fatalities, but it could be there will be more. That is the scenario that we are preparing for according to the best experts,” he said. “The assessments are for a war that will last 30 days on a number of fronts.”

Israel is convinced that archenemy Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons, dismissing Tehran’s claims that its nuclear program is for civilian purposes. Israel considers nuclear-armed Iran to be a mortal danger. Iran backs anti-Israel militants with funds and weapons, and its leaders often call for Israel’s destruction.

In his latest pronouncement, Iranian Supreme leader Ali Khamenei said Israel will disappear from “the scene of geography.” Addressing war veterans in Tehran on Wednesday, he said Iran considers it its “religious duty to save this Islamic country (Palestine) from the clutches of the Zionist occupiers.”

Israel’s leaders have indicated an attack is a possibility if they conclude the international community has failed to halt the Iranian nuclear program.

Vilnai did not elaborate on how he reached his assessments, but his office relies on intelligence and other assessments about Iranian weapons capabilities and Israeli susceptibility. Defense Minister Ehud Barak has also said the Israeli death toll could be in the range of 500 in such a conflict.

“Just as the citizens of Japan have to realize that they can have earthquakes, so the citizens of Israel have to realize that if they live here, they have to be prepared to expect missiles on the home front,” Vilnai said. “It’s not pleasant for the home front, but decisions have to be made, and we have to be ready.”

Vilnai has made similar comments in other media outlets in recent days.

At a news briefing in Washington Aug. 14, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta reaffirmed the U.S. assessment that Israel has not yet decided whether to strike, while the U.S. military chief, Gen. Martin Dempsey, echoed a widely held assessment that an Israeli operation would only set back, not destroy, Iran’s nuclear project.

Vilnai was stepping down Aug. 15 to take up his new post in China. He is being replaced by a former internal security service chief, Avi Dichter.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines August 18, 2014

News: U.S. mission in Iraq could expand, Pentagon official says - The mission for U.S. troops in Iraq to help Kurdish and Iraqi security forces in their fight against Islamic militants remains limited for now, but may expand after Iraqi leaders form a new government, a Pentagon spokesman said Aug. 19.   Business: Fuel deals top...
 
 

News Briefs August 20, 2014

Trials complete on fourth Coast Guard cutter Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., has completed acceptance sea trials for the company’s fourth U.S. Coast Guard national security cutter, Hamilton. Jim French, Ingalls’ NSC program manager, tells The Mississippi Press) the Hamilton is scheduled to be delivered next month and commissioned on Dec. 6 in Charleston, South...
 
 
Army photograph by Sgt. Thomas Duval

Air Force, Army Aviation come together to complete vital mission in Egypt

Army photograph by Sgt. Thomas Duval Soldiers and airmen load a UH-60 Black Hawk into an Air Force C17 Globemaster III Aug. 19, 2104, at an old Israeli airstrip in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. The airstrip is now used by the M...
 

 
Air Force photograph by TSgt. Terri Praden

Joint effort validates ability to move Stryker vehicles via air

Air Force photograph by TSgt. Terri Praden An Army Stryker combat vehicle is guided into a C-17 Globemaster III during a 25th Infantry Division training exercise Aug. 13, 2014, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The Str...
 
 
NASA image

Ozone-depleting compound persists, NASA research shows

NASA image Satellites observed the largest ozone hole over Antarctica in 2006. Purple and blue represent areas of low ozone concentrations in the atmosphere; yellow and red are areas of higher concentrations. NASA research show...
 
 

F-16V completes major capability milestone

The newest configuration of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the F-16V, has reached a major capability milestone with the integration of a new Active Electronically Scanned Array radar. Completing this milestone on schedule demonstrates our ability to meet program commitments, said Roderick McLean, vice president and general manager of the F-16/F-22 Integrated Fighter Group at Lockheed...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>