Ashkenazi Uniform 311.
(photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)
IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said that Iran has over 300 missiles that could reach Israel within 10-12 minutes, according to cables released by WikiLeaks on Sunday.
RELATED:Top international story of 2010: WikiLeaks as corn nutsIran smuggled hundreds of rockets to Gaza in 2010Two arrested for Hamas plot to fire rockets at stadium
During a November 15, 2009 meeting with a US Congress delegation led by Ike Skelton (D-MO), Ashkenazi added that that Israel was prepared for a major war against Hamas.
"I'm preparing the Israeli army in a major war, since it is easier to scale down to a smaller operation than to do the opposite," he said.
Ashkenazi told the delegation that "rocket threat against Israel is more serious than ever. Therefore, Israel has a strong emphasis on missile defense."
He added that although the Iranian threat is serious, the threat from Hamas and Hizbullah, which are funded by Iran, is most acute. Their rockets are more accurate than Iran's, due to their proximity to Israel.
"We therefore believe," Ashkenazi said, "that the next war will take place in the same areas where the previous wars occurred," Lebanon and Gaza.
According to the cables, Ashkenazi said that Hizbullah has over 40,000 rockets, most of which can reach any point within Israel, and Hamas has the ability to strike Tel Aviv.
Disruption of daily life in Tel Aviv is a major goal of Hizbullah and
Hamas, and their weapons stockpiles indicated to the IDF that they are
aiming for a lengthy conflict with Israel in which they plan to send a
"massive number" of rockets into Israel daily.
The chief of staff explained that anti-missile defense systems can not
cover the whole country; therefore the IDF sends out drones over Lebanon to
"identify potential targets," he said. "So far, the drones have been a
Ashkenazi said that during Operation Cast Lead the IDF made mistakes,
but never deliberately attacked civilians. He added that in the next
war, Israel can not be restricted in urban battles.
In a related cable, from September 2009, Maj.- Gen. Yoav Galant told
Senator Kirsten Gilibrand (D-NY) that had the IDF enterted main urban
areas in Gaza, Operation Cast Lead would have lasted three days, not
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>