'Iranian anti-aircraft missiles pose challenge, but not insurmountable'

Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad’s comments were reported on the website of Israel Radio.

April 18, 2015 18:02
1 minute read.
Iranian soldiers take part in a military procession in Tehran

Iranian soldiers take part in a military procession in Tehran. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Amos Gilad, the head of the Defense Ministry’s diplomatic- security branch, told a town hall meeting in Beersheba on Saturday the Russian-made surface-to-air S-300 air defense system procured by Iran poses a “challenge” to Israel but one that can be overcome.

Gilad said, however, that the weapon is not a defensive one, as the Russian government has claimed, but indicated that Israel is capable of finding ways to neutralize the threat, according to his comments, which were posted on the Israel Radio website.

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Despite claims by local residents who have reported hearing sounds that indicate possible underground digging, Gilad said he was not aware of any tunnels being dug by Hezbollah underneath the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Nonetheless, he warned of Hezbollah’s arsenal of 100,000 missiles and its capacity to launch them at virtually any target within Israel.

“Until now, Hezbollah has not launched them by virtue of Israel’s deterrence capacity,” Gilad said. “If Iran develops nuclear weapons, this is liable to change the deterrence balance.”

Both Israel and the US continue to mull the option of militarily stopping Iran’s nuclear program, he added.

Commenting on the Israel Air Force’s latest acquisition, the purchase of the F-35 stealth fighter jet from the US, Gilad said the plane “will change the rules of the game and double the IAF’s potency.”

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