Saturday, June 21, 2008

ISRAEL TRAINS FOR POSSIBLE IRAN STRIKE?

ISRAELI fighter jets have recently conducted a large-scale training operation that simulated an attack on an Iranian nuclear reactor, US media reports claim.

The apparent operation follows months of escalating rhetoric from the Israeli defence establishment and politicians, who insist a military strike against the nascent nuclear capabilities of Iran is on strategists' drawing boards.

Up to 100 advanced Israeli combat jets were reported to have taken part in the drill over Greece and other areas of the eastern Mediterranean.

The exercise was tailored to prepare for long-range strikes and focused on air-to-air refuelling and target assessment, Pentagon officials told The New York Times.

The paper reported that more than 100 Israeli jets staged the manoeuvre. It said the aircraft flew more than 1440km, roughly the distance from Israel to Iran's Natanz nuclear-enrichment facility.

Asked to comment on the report, the military issued a statement saying only that the Israeli air force "regularly trains for various missions in order to confront and meet the challenges posed by the threats facing Israel".

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said he preferred that Iran's nuclear ambitions be halted through diplomacy, but he does not rule out military action.

Report from theaustralian

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