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Israeli Air Force Conducts War Games


Israel conducted war games this week amid growing tensions with nearby Iran.

The Israeli Air Force concluded a major, four-day exercise to prepare for the possibility of all out war. Military sources said the exercise simulated war on several fronts, including with Iran.

In a terse statement, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said it was a good and important exercise which shows that Israel can depend on its armed forces.

Various scenarios rehearsed

The war games dealt with various scenarios, including a massive missile strike on Israeli cities. In the north, neighboring Syria has a ballistic missile arsenal, and Hezbollah guerillas in Lebanon have tens of thousands of rockets. Southern Israel is under threat from Hamas rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.

But Israel's biggest fear is Iran, which test-fired a new medium-range missile this week. The Sajil-2 has a range of 2,000 kilometers, meaning it can hit anywhere in the Jewish state. Israel fears that the missile could one day carry nuclear warheads.

Iranian aspirations regarded as threat

Israeli spokesman Dan Gillerman says this is a grave development, considering that Iran's president has threatened to wipe Israel "off the map."

"The real danger is Iran's imperialistic, obsessive aspirations. There's a very real reality that Iran must be dealt with in order for us to live in peace in this region," Gillerman said.

Israel is concerned about U.S. President Barack Obama's plans to negotiate with Iran, fearing the Islamic Republic will simply buy more time to build a nuclear bomb. So the air force exercise seems to be a way for Israel to press a point it has been making all along: that if the international community fails to stop Iran, Israel might take military action on its own.

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