Barak: Iran a challenge to entire world

Barak hints that Israel will attack Iran if there's no other option, but focus should be on int'l sanctions.

ehud barak 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
ehud barak 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Amidst recent reports of a possible Israeli attack on Iran, and reports of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' military maneuvers, Defense Minister Ehud Barak hinted Thursday that Israel will attack Iran if there is no other option. Speaking at Labor party headquarters in Tel Aviv, Barak said that the situation "is a challenge not only to Israel, but to the whole world." He added that at the moment the focus should be on international sanctions and other diplomatic options. Barak also asserted that Israel doesn't balk "when its vital security interests" are at stake. "Even so, we are not acting within an empty cavity. Israel is very strong but we are not immune," he said. The defense minister went on to speak about the security situation in the North, saying that "in the last two years the amount of rockets in Hizbullah's possession has doubled, even tripled, and almost all Israeli citizens are in their range." He added that Hizbullah's ties with Syria have strengthened during that period. Regarding a prisoner exchange deal to free kidnapped IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev that Israel signed this week, Barak said that he hoped to soon "see the end of the struggle for the return of the captured soldiers." "If it becomes clear they are not alive, it's our responsibility to say the truth to the public," he went on. Barak also mentioned the matter of the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, saying that "there is a window of opportunity as a result of the Gaza truce. It is important that we take advantage of that window."