Along Israel’s Border, Preparations Made for Iran-Backed Attacks
Israel and the United States are planning joint military exercises in early 2012 with a focus on missile defense. The moves come amid recent Israeli media reports that Israel’s government is considering an attack on Iran’s controversial nuclear sites. Iran has vowed to hit back. In northern Israel preparations are being made for that possibility.
At Israel’s northernmost border, a fence separates towns and farms in Israel and the occupied Golan Heights from southern Lebanon, a base for Hezbollah, and from Syria. Both are allies of Iran.
In December, Israel staged military exercises in the Golan. It also held emergency drills on how to respond to attacks by missiles and biological weapons.
Uzi Rubin, the former head of Israel’s missile defense program, says Israel must prepare for retaliation if, as Israeli media report, Israel first attacks Iranian nuclear sites. “We don’t have a good answer for that as yet. For air threats we have a very strong air force, ground threats we have a very strong ground force. For this, we are wide open yet (still),” Rubin said.
Iran says its nuclear ambitions are peaceful. But Israel fears Iran is building a nuclear weapon. Iran has missiles that can reach Israel and even Europe, and could carry nuclear warheads.
Iran’s ally, Syria, has thousands of short-range missiles, as does its Lebanon-based ally, Hezbollah.