(photo credit: Courtesy)
Sources close to Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday morning dismissed a report that appeared in Saturday's The Times newspaper claiming that Israel was preparing for the possibility that it would need to attack Iran's nuclear facilities at several hours' notice.
The sources called the article in the UK paper the "baseless speculation of a reporter," adding that such reports isolated Israel against the Iranian threat, Army Radio said.
According to an unnamed Israeli security official quoted by the Times, "Israel wants to know that if its forces were given the green light, they could strike at Iran in a matter of days, even hours."
"They are making preparations on every level for this eventuality," the source said. "The message to Iran is that the threat is not just words."
According to the paper, such an attack would involve strikes on over a dozen targets, including the uranium enrichment facility in Natanz, the uranium conversion facility in Isfahan, the heavy water plant in Arak, as well as moving convoys.
"We would not make the threat [against Iran] without the force to back it," one intelligence official told the Times. "There has been a recent move, a number of on-the-ground preparations, that indicate Israel's willingness to act."
Still, he added, an Israeli assault was unlikely without American approval, even if only implied.
The report stated that the IDF had made several preparations, and was planning several more, in case an attack would be deemed inevitable. The recently reported strike on an Iranian arms convoy in Sudan was one such rehearsal, the paper claimed. The army's recent purchase of three new Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) was another.
Meanwhile, the paper reported that the upcoming nationwide home front exercise planned would help prepare Israel for the retaliation that would probably follow any attack on Iran.