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Paper hints at possible Israeli strike plans for Iran

Michael Roston
Published: Friday February 2, 2007
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A newspaper column in Friday's Washington Times suggests possible plans for an Israeli strike on Iran. The unidentified "military source" told Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough that Israeli officials are discussing the "how and when" of a possible pre-emptive strike on Iranian nuclear infrastructure.

"The Israelis know that their attack on Iran would be far bloodier and much more difficult than" the raid that destroyed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981, they write in their weekly "Inside the Ring" column. The report indicates that Israel has been purchasing large numbers of precision-guided munitions kits for existing bombs and "bunker-busters" that could destroy underground Iranian nuclear facilities.

Israel considers the Natanz uranium enrichment facility and the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant to be key targets, the two write. "They will have to strike during the day to make sure they get the technicians and scientists," the story also quotes its source as saying.

An additional consideration is the route of the strike. Using American-controlled Iraqi airspace could create difficulties for Israel. Therefore, Gertz and Scarborough report, "one solution would be to set up a secret base in another area between Iran and Israel to refuel Israel's bombers." The two add that Israel did not give advanced notice to the Americans of the 1981 attack on Iraq.

Gertz and Scarborough's Friday column can be read at the Washington Times website.