Israel Increasingly Likely to Launch Preemptive Strike on Iran
Israeli F-15 fighter jets refuel during an air show at the Hatzerim air force base in the Negev desert, June 30, 2011. If Israel attacks Iran, its jets would need two mid-air refuelings. (JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
February 3, 2012
| Security
| Middle East and North Africa
A February 2 Washington Post report that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta believes there is a “strong likelihood” that Israel will launch air strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities in “April, May or June” was not surprising to those who have followed developments in Iran and know Israel’s history.

The likelihood of an Israeli attack on Iran has grown given Israel’s willingness in the past to take decisive action against even perceived nuclear threats. In 1981, the Israeli Air Force carried out a successful attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak and destroyed a partly constructed Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007. In the case of Iran, Israel has far greater evidence of a threat.


Tensions have been building since the November release of a report by the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that expressed “serious concerns” about Iran’s weapons programs and provided specific details about the amount of low-enriched uranium Iran is thought to have acquired. In recent weeks, the European Union agreed to a phased-in ban on Iranian oil and President Obama signed legislation to isolate Iran’s Central Bank. The United States also announced that it would view an Iranian attempt to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz as a red line that would elicit a response. But Iran has still not backed down.


Israeli leaders have said they are prepared to use military force to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. With the confluence of events that have taken place over the last three months, there is no reason we should not take them at their word.  

LIGNET regards a 2009 report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies "Study on a Possible Israeli Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Development Facilities" as the best unclassified assessment of how Israel would carry out airstrikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. Click
HERE to read this report. 

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