WikiLeaks: Iran can attack Israel within 10-12 minutes

However, Ashkenazi says, Hamas and Hizbullah are the biggest threat, with over 40,000 rockets and an ability to attack any point in Israel.

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January 2, 2011 18:14
2 minute read.
Ashkenazi addresses group of soldiers

Ashkenazi Uniform 311. (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)

 
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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.

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.

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"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.

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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 success."

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 three weeks.

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