Israel’s $3bn plan to strike Iran revealed
The Israeli military has reportedly drawn up several scenarios to strike Iranian targets, but warned the government that the outcomes of such actions – or their effects on Tehran’s nuclear program – were difficult to predict.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was allocated some nine billion shekels ($2.9 billion) to prepare for a possible attack on Iran, Haaretz reported on Wednesday.
To this end, the IDF has reportedly acquired advanced weapons, run air force training exercises and selected new strike targets in recent months.
According to the report, military officials have told the government the IDF was ready to strike as soon as it had approval. But it presented a number of potential consequences, including fighting breaking out with Hezbollah in Lebanon or with Hamas in Gaza.
Additionally, the IDF noted that Iran had expanded its air-defense array in recent years, which would complicate incoming airstrikes. They claimed that Tehran has also significantly increased its long-range missile arsenal – to the point where it can allegedly hit any point in Israel with ease.
The officials also apparently reiterated previous military intelligence assessments that Iran could develop a nuclear bomb within two years if it had the intention to do so. In recent weeks, Israel has warned that it would not allow Tehran to become a nuclear state, even as negotiations in Vienna to revive the stalled 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal continue.
Meanwhile, the IDF is apparently working to strengthen defense ties with Egypt, Jordan, Cyprus, Greece and some Gulf states, through intelligence-gathering and joint counter-terrorism operations. The officials reportedly said this would “grant greater legitimacy” to potential strikes against Iran.
Other reported considerations included Hezbollah’s ability to increase its arsenal of precision missiles despite an Israeli clampdown on shipment of munitions. Similarly, the IDF cautioned that it had failed to cripple Hamas’ long-range rocket array during the fighting in May. The Palestinian militant group is apparently also replenishing its numbers and rebuilding production facilities.
Earlier this month, Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz said he had informed US officials about having instructed the IDF to prepare for a strike against Iran. However, senior Iranian military officials countered that Israel could not follow through on the threats without “the green light and support of the US.”