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Iran to Israel: Don't Try Attacking Our Nukes


An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters in Tehran Sunday morning that any attack on a nuclear facility in the country would evoke a harsh response.

"Any military offensive on the Islamic Republic will not be unanswered and the aggressor will very quickly regret its acts," said Mohammed Ali Husseini. The Sunday Times of London reported that Israel was training its pilots for a possible operation against Iran's nuclear facilities. A nuclear weapon in Iranian hands would pose an existential threat for the Jewish State.

Bunker Buster Strike Planned for Iran's Nukes


The Sunday London Times is reporting that Israel has drawn up secret plans to use tactical nuclear weapons to destroy uranium-enrichment sites in Iran.

Two Israeli air force squadrons have been training for a mission against an enrichment plant in Natanz using low-yield nuclear "bunker busters," Israeli military sources told the Times. The Israeli weapons would each have a force equivalent to one-fifteenth of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

WND reported Israel's training against a mock-up of Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment plant in March 2005. Tactics included raids by Israel's elite Shaldag commando unit and air strikes by F-15 jets from the 69 Squadron, using bunker-busting bombs purchased from the U.S. to penetrate underground facilities.

Sunday's Times story reveals two other sites that would be targeted with conventional weapons: a heavy water plant at Arak capable of producing bomb-grade plutonium and a uranium conversion plant at Isfahan, where 250 tons of gas for the enrichment process has been stored in tunnels.

The plan calls for conventional laser-guided bombs opening "tunnels" at Natanz, with "mini-nukes" following close behind, exploding underground and limiting the area affected by radioactive fallout. Thousands of centrifuges are being installed for uranium enrichment at the Natanz site.

Scientists agree that contamination from the bunker-busters would be limited, but tons of radioactive uranium compounds would be still be released, they say.

Three potential routes – one over Turkey – have been selected for the mission. Israeli pilots have been training in recent weeks by flying mock runs between Israel and Gibraltar in anticipation of the 2,000-mile round-trip flight to Iran.

"As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished," said one of the Times sources.

A growing consensus in Israel's military says conventional strikes may no longer be adequate to destroy enrichment facilities built beneath 70 feet of concrete and rock.

While tactical atomic weapons are prominently featured in the current planning, the nuclear-tipped bunker-busters would reportedly be used only if a conventional attack was ruled out and if the U.S. declined to intervene. Pentagon sources were skeptical that the U.S. would give approval to the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

Israel sought U.S. approval "after the event" for the 1981 air strike that crippled Iraq's nuclear reactor at Osirak and one source said it would probably do so again.

Israel believes Iran would be constrained from retaliation with its Shehab-3 ballistic missiles by fear of a second strike.

This is not the first time Israel's planning for a strike on Iran has been reported. As WND reported in December 2005, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered defense forces to plan for a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear weapons facilities by the end of March 2006 – the time intelligence sources were saying Tehran would be able to begin producing nuclear weapons.

"Israel – and not only Israel – cannot accept a nuclear Iran," Sharon warned. "We have the ability to deal with this and we're making all the necessary preparations to be ready for such a situation."

Israel Denies Reports it Has Plans for Strike on Iran Nuclear Facility

By VOA News

Israel is denying a report in a British newspaper that the country has drawn up secret plans to target Iran's nuclear facilities with tactical nuclear weapons. Speculation has been rife about an Israeli pre-emptive strike against Iran since the Iranian president threatened to destroy the Jewish state.

Israel's Foreign Ministry denied a report in London's Sunday Times that said the Israeli air force is training for a tactical nuclear strike on uranium enrichment facilities in Iran. Quoting Israeli military sources, the paper said the secret plan involves using low-yield nuclear "bunker busters."

The report said Israeli pilots have flown to Gibraltar in recent weeks to train for the 3,000-kilometer round-trip flight to Iranian targets.

But, in a brief statement, the Foreign Ministry said Israel prefers diplomacy, including full implementation of U.N. sanctions on Iran. At the same time, Israel believes those sanctions are not strong enough. Israeli analyst Cameron Brown: "They are very, very light sanctions, and very limited in scope. Sanctions that have been imposed are totally insufficient to convince the Iranians that the price is far too high to bear," Brown says.

Brown says what is needed is a series of sanctions: "that are going to have to become much, much more comprehensive, and going to have to be much more penetrating, if they are going to have any chance of success at all."

More than a year ago, the Iranian president threatened to wipe Israel off the map, and, since then, Israeli officials have said repeatedly that they cannot allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

The Israeli air force destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981, but an attack on Iran is much more complicated. Iran's nuclear facilities are spread out and fortified deep underground in concrete. Therefore, some experts believe the only way Israel can destroy Iran's nuclear facilities is with tactical nuclear weapons.

'Saddam' Terror Group Says it's Targeting U.S.


Palestinians in the Gaza Strip Sunday announced the formation of what they say is a new "resistance" group to carry out attacks against the United States, Israel and Iran in the name of executed former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

The new purported organization, the Saddam Hussein Martyrs Brigades, will "hit America, Israel, Iran and all the traitors to our people," according to a pamphlet distributed in the densely populated Gaza Strip city of Khan Yunis and obtained by WND.

"The Zionists and Americans will not dream of more invasions because the reaction of our wing will be very painful. The cells of our organization are spread all around Palestine," the pamphlet stated.

Israeli and Palestinian security sources could not immediately confirm the formation of the purported new group.

Meanwhile, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip this weekend mourning ceremonies continued for Hussein, who was hanged one week ago after being sentenced to death for crimes against humanity. In the northern West Bank town of Yabed, near Jenin, about 500 people Saturday participated in a march for Hussein. They also opened a mourning tent in his honor.

In Halhoul, near Hebron, hundreds of Palestinians reportedly attended a rally in honor of Hussein, waving flags of several Palestinian terror groups. Rally-goers burned the Israeli and American flags, and chanted slogans against Iran and against Iraqi Shiite leaders who opposed Hussein.

Pictures of Hussein alongside late PLO leader Yasir Arafat were posted throughout Gaza and the West Bank.

Iranian leaders last week hailed the death of Hussein. Iran and Iraq engaged in a bitter war from 1980-1988. Many Iranian Shiites saw Hussein as an enemy in part due to his violent repression of Iraqi Shiites. However, Hussein was considered a hero to most Palestinians. His final words last week reportedly included "Palestine is Arab."

During the first Gulf War in 1991, Palestinians cheered Hussein's missile attacks on Israel, chanting "Beloved Saddam, strike Tel Aviv," as the Scud missiles flew overhead. Some scuds fell short and landed in Palestinian areas.

Hussein further endeared himself to the Palestinians during the latest Palestinian intifada, or terror war, which began in September 2000. The Iraqi dictator donated about $25,000 to the family of each Palestinian suicide bomber and $10,000 for each Palestinian killed while committing attacks against Israel. The stipends amounted to an estimated $35 million.

Mideast analysts say Hussein's support for the Palestinian cause was mostly aimed at gaining widespread support throughout the Arab world.

Is a Nuclear Attack Realistic?


"No country has launched an attack using nuclear weapons since Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If there's indeed a strike on Iran, the last thing the forces would want to do is to use nuclear arms, as long as there are other means," Deputy Director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies Dr. Ephraim Kam told Ynet Sunday.

Kam's comments come in response to a Sunday Times report that Israel has formulated a plan to strike three Iranian nuclear facilities using tactical nuclear weapons.

According to Kam, the use of nuclear arms is an extreme step. "Even though this plan is realistic, I don't know if ultimately we'll see a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. Even in case a decision is taken to act, it doesn't have to be done with nuclear weapons – that's a far-reaching move."

As to the targets presented in the British report, Kam said that "there are dozens of targets related to the Iranian nuclear program, including three of four that are considered highly critical. If these specific targets are hit this would constitute a significant blow to the nuclear program.

Addressing the overall intelligence picture possessed by international intelligence organizations, Kam said that "I do not read intelligence information, but logic dictates that there cannot be a full intelligence picture. It's highly unlikely that comprehensive and accurate intelligence information regarding Iran's nuclear project exists."

Former Air Force Commander Eitan Ben Eliyahu said that "the defense establishment is prepared for all possibilities, but there's a great distance between that and the concrete details in the Sunday Times."

Similarly to Dr. Kam, Ben Eliyahu also believes that the Iranian nuclear program features several central sites and that hitting them would stop or at least significantly disrupt Tehran's nuclear project. "When talking about more realistic strikes or a more balanced military action we focus on those three sites – Natanz, Arak and Isfahan. If they are hit, the program would be annulled or significantly delayed.

Ben Eliyahu refused to address the British newspaper report directly, but argued that the defense system's duty is to prepare for the possibly of such strike. "It would be an irresponsible, criminal neglect if a certain country presents a high-likelihood threat against Israel without us preparing for it. I don't even want to imagine the possibility of facing a commission of inquiry in the future because we didn't prepare for the Iranian problem."

Regarding the claim in the British report that the Air Force engaged in long-range training in Gibraltar, Ben Eliyahu said that the Air Force has been preparing for long-range strikes for many years now:

"Ten years ago the Air Force already started to undertake this kind of training – not only against Iran but also Iraq and distant targets in northern Syria. One of the clear signs for it is that 15 years ago, in the framework of budgetary constraints, we made do with 25 long-range F-15A bombers instead of purchasing 50 other planes."

Fatah Rally Draws Tens of Thousands in Gaza

By VOA News

Tens of thousands of Palestinian Fatah faction supporters have gathered in Gaza's main stadium, in a public show of confidence for President Mahmoud Abbas.

Witnesses said that Sunday's rally marking the 42nd anniversary of the group's founding is one of the largest in Gaza in years. Mohammed Dahlan, an ally of Abbas and prominent Fatah member, addressed the cheering crowd and openly taunted the rival Hamas faction, daring the group to assassinate him.

The rally follows a week of deadly fighting between Fatah and Hamas. Gunmen from both groups have fought street battles in Gaza and the West Bank as part of an ongoing power struggle.

On Saturday President Abbas outlawed Hamas' main military force in Gaza. Hamas rejected the announcement and vowed to double the number of its forces to 12,000 fighters.

Meanwhile, a photographer for the French news agency has been freed in the Gaza Strip after seven days in captivity. French news agency representatives say Palestinian security forces handed over Peruvian Jaime Razuri at Abbas' Gaza compound.

Unidentified gunmen kidnapped the 50-year-old man outside the news agency's Gaza office last Monday. Following his release, Razuri expressed relief and said his abductors treated him well.

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