Israel has drawn up contingency plans for a combined air and ground attack on targets in Iran if diplomacy fails to halt the Iranian nuclear program, according to a report in the Sunday London Times.
The inner cabinet of Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, gave “initial authorization” for an attack at a private meeting last month on his ranch in the Negev desert, according to the report.
Israeli forces reportedly have used a mock-up of Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment plant in the desert for practice runs. Their tactics include raids by Israel’s elite Shaldag commando unit and airstrikes by F-15 jets from 69 Squadron, using bunker-busting bombs recently purchased from the U.S. to penetrate underground facilities.
The plans, said the Times, have been discussed with U.S. officials who are said to have indicated provisionally that they would not stand in Israel’s way if all international diplomatic efforts to halt Iranian nuclear projects failed.