End Times News Update
Sign: Rumors of War / Persia
Scripture: Matthew 24:6 & Ezekiel 38:5
News Source: Reuters
Panetta believes Israel may strike Iran this spring: reports
WASHINGTON | Thu Feb 2, 2012 8:53pm EST
The Washington Post first reported that Panetta was concerned about
the increased likelihood Israel would launch an attack over the next
few months. CNN said it confirmed the report, citing a senior Obama
administration official, who declined to be identified.
“Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike
Iran in April, May or June – before Iran enters what Israelis
described as a ‘zone of immunity’ to commence building a nuclear
bomb,” Washington Post columnist David Ignatius wrote.
“Very soon, the Israelis fear, the Iranians will have stored enough
enriched uranium in deep underground facilities to make a weapon – and
only the United States could then stop them militarily,” Ignatius
Ignatius did not cite a source. He was writing from Brussels where
Panetta was attending a NATO defense ministers’ meeting.
Panetta and the Pentagon both declined comment on the Post report.
Israel, widely believed to possess the Middle East’s only nuclear
arsenal, views Iran’s uranium enrichment projects as a major threat
and has not ruled out the use of military force to prevent Tehran from
acquiring nuclear weapons.
Iran says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.
The Post article said the postponement of a joint U.S.-Israeli
military exercise that had been scheduled for this spring may have
signaled the prospect of an Israeli attack soon.
Washington and the European Union imposed tighter sanctions on Iran in
recent weeks in a drive to force Tehran to provide more information on
its nuclear program.
Iran has said repeatedly it could close the vital Strait of Hormuz
shipping lane if sanctions succeed in preventing it from exporting
crude, a move Washington said it would not tolerate.
Israel’s military intelligence chief said on Thursday he estimated
that Iran could make four atomic bombs by further enriching uranium it
had already stockpiled, and could produce its first bomb within a year
of deciding to build one.
But in his rare public remarks, Major-General Aviv Kochavi held out
the possibility that stronger international sanctions might dissuade
Tehran from pursuing a policy he had no doubt was aimed at developing
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said separately that “if sanctions
don’t achieve the desired goal of stopping (Iran’s) military nuclear
program, there will be a need to consider taking action.”
(Reporting by JoAnne Allen in Washington and Jeffrey Heller in
Jerusalem; Editing by Peter Cooney)