Israel to Face Huge Security Challenges in 2009

[Xinhua-China] A senior Israeli army officer warned Tuesday during a background briefing that the Jewish state would face "huge security challenges" in the coming year, listing three major threats to Israel: Iran's long-range attack capability, military organizations in neighboring countries, and asymmetric terrorism activities. The Middle East is divided into two camps: one camp, with the U.S. as its leader, comprises Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates; the other consists of Iran, Syria, and the Palestinian Hamas movement. The Israeli officer accused Iran of being "on the way to becoming a nuclear country" and urged the international community to implement "decisive and timely" measures, such as more strict political and economic sanctions, to stop Iran's nuclear program. He cited intelligence reports saying that Iran so far had stockpiled about 300 kg. of low-enriched uranium. "At this pace, Iran will have enough nuclear material in two or three years." Moreover, Iran has long-range missiles including the Shahab 3 which can hit targets in a range of 2,000 kilometers, he warned. The officer predicted that Iran would be likely to provide a nuclear umbrella to military groups like Hamas in Gaza and Hizbullah in Lebanon. The Israeli officer stressed that Israel's continual military operations and blockade of Gaza are not punishment but effective defensive measures to prevent attacks. He said some 3,010 rockets and mortar shells have been fired at southern Israel by Palestinians this year.

2008-12-18 06:00:00

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