U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks reveal that Israel believes it would have 10-12 minutes’ warning should Iran launch a rocket attack against the country.
The Norwegian daily Aftenposten published a cable Monday from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv that discusses a Nov 15, 2009 meeting between an American congressional delegation and Israel’s military chief.
According to the daily, Gabi Ashkenazi told the delegation that Iran has 300 Shihab missiles that could reach Israel. He added that Israel’s biggest threats were the Iranian-backed Hamas militant group in the Gaza Strip and Hezbollah in Lebanon, which has more than 40,000 rockets that can reach almost any point in Israel.
In the cable, Ashkenazi is quoted as saying Israel was preparing its army for a major war in the Middle East. He added that the Israeli army sends out unmanned planes over Lebanon to identify potential targets.
The Israeli defense chief said Israel is not able to protect its entire population despite its anti-missile defense systems. He said 1 million Israelis could be exposed to missiles that cannot be fought from the air.