Israeli PM denies Iran attack plans

Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, has dismissed suggestions that Israel is working with the US in drawing up contingency plans for conflict with Iran.

Israeli PM denies Iran attack plans

EhudOlmert, the Israeli prime minister, has dismissed suggestions that Israel is working with the US in drawing up contingency plans for conflictwith Iran.

Hiscomments followed an assessment given to the Israeli cabinet on Sundayon the possible outcomes of a confrontation between Tehranand Washington.

 

"Declarationsthat there is an American plan to strike Iranthat is being co-ordinated with Israelwhich would at the same time attack Syriaand Lebanon is not familiarto me, and is a baseless rumour," Olmert told a Jerusalem news conference on Sunday.

 

Standing alongside Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor who was on a visitto Jerusalem, Olmert insisted Israelhad no desire to see a fresh conflict in the region.

"Israelis not planning an attack and does not wish for war, as it did not want one inthe past," he said.

Intensifyingconfrontation

Olmert'scomments followed a briefing given to the Israeli cabinet earlier on Sunday byAmos Yadlin, the military intelligence chief, in which he set out hisassessment of the likely reactions of Iran's main regionalallies, Syriaand Hezbollah, to an intensifying confrontation between Tehran and Washington.

"Theyfear a war initiated by the Americans because they understand that there mightbe an attack against Iranover the summer, but not by Israel,"a senior government official quoted Yadlin as telling cabinet ministers.

AlthoughYadlin insisted that Israelhad no intention of becoming  embroiled in such a conflict, he warned thatany moves by the Jewish  state could be wrongly interpreted by itsneighbours as a sign of hostile intent.

"Ifthe Americans launch an offensive in Iran, Hezbollah and Syria will think the movehad been co-ordinated with Israel and would expect Israelto strike them too," another government official at the meeting told AFP.

'Newconflict'

Yadlinsaid he was concerned that the region might inadvertently stumble into a newconflict.

"Wemight again find ourselves in a war no one wanted," he told ministers. "Israelmust be prepared and make sure its steps will not lead to any miscalculation onthe other side.

"Israel is closely followingdevelopments on this front out of a concern that the three players mightmisinterpret certain steps taken by Israel."

Yadlinsaid Hezbollah was abiding by a UN-brokered ceasefire in south Lebanon,but charged that the Shia fighters were busy rearming north of the Litani river- out of the jurisdiction of UN peacekeepers.

Civiliandeaths

Israel fought a 34-day war againstHezbollah last summer after two soldiers were captured in a cross-border raid.

Around1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers, died inthe conflict.

"Hezbollahhas no intention of getting into a second round of conflict," Yadlin wasquoted as saying.

"Butit is busy rebuilding its forces and has accelerated those efforts for fear ofa summer attack."

OnSaturday, Iran'sjoint chief of staff warned Arab states neighbouring Israelagainst what he called a "Zionist suicide attack" this year.

"TheZionists plan to carry out a suicide plot in the summer,"  thesemi-official Fars news agency quoted major general Hassan  Firouzabadi assaying.

Hepredicted that an Israeli attack would start from Lebanon and Syria and proceed to Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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