Iran will “attack the heart of Tel Aviv” if Israel attacks the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities, the Fars News Agency quoted a senior Iranian cleric as saying on Saturday.
“They do not dare to damage our nuclear centers and know very well that any move against the Islamic Republic will make them regret,” Hojjatoleslam Seyed Reza Taqavi said.
The comments came as Israel accused Iran and its proxy Hezbollah of responsibility for Wednesday’s terrorist attack in Bulgaria in which five Israelis were killed.Some analysts believe Iran is trying to avenge the assassinations of several scientists involved in its nuclear program that it blames on Israel and the United States. Israeli diplomats have been targeted in several countries in recent months by bombers who the Jewish state maintained had struck on behalf of Tehran
With the rebels moving deeper into Damascus, and the regime’s days appearing numbered, the CIA is racing to find Syria’s chemical and biological weapons before it’s too late.
With the days and weeks of the Syrian government appearing numbered, the Central Intelligence Agency is scrambling to get a handle on the locations of the country’s chemical and biological weapons, while assessing the composition, loyalties, and background of the rebel groups poised to take power in the event President Bashar al-Assad falls.
This task has become more urgent in recent days. Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Syrian military was moving its chemical weapons out of storage.
Obama administration officials say the White House has yet to decide on how it will respond if pro-al-Assad forces use chemical weapons against the Syrian population or a neighboring country. The administration has told senior regime officials that they will be held responsible if they fail to secure chemical weapons.
DeSutter said the U.S. should remain vague about the exact consequences. “You could say we will target the president of Syria if they are used and we will target any military organization that used them,” DeSutter said. “I would let them wonder. You might want to drop the word ‘Israel’ in the conversation, too, as a subtle point.”
Hydemann said, “There is absolutely no question there has been a great deal of attention in different agencies of the government to the location and security of the chemical weapons stockpiles.”
A senior Syrian military defector said President Bashar al-Assad's forces were moving chemical weapons across the country for possible use in a military retaliation for the killing of four top security officials.
"They are moving it from warehouses to new locations," he told Reuters in an interview in southern Turkey, close to the Syrian border. "They want to burn the country. The regime cannot fall without perpetrating a sea of blood."
Israel said on Friday it would consider military action if needed to ensure Syrian missiles or chemical weapons did not reach President Bashar al-Assad's allies in Lebanon, the Shi'ite Islamist movement Hezbollah.
"I have instructed the military to increase its intelligence preparations and prepare what is needed so that ... (if necessary) ... we will be able to consider carrying out an operation," Defence Minister Ehud Barak said in an interview on Channel 10 television.
"We are following ... the possible transfer of advanced munitions systems, mainly anti-aircraft missiles or heavy ground-to-ground missiles, but there could also be a possibility of the transfer of chemical means (weapons) from Syria to Lebanon," said Barak.
Hezbollah, which in the past has received military and financial support from Syria and Iran, launched thousands of mainly short-range rockets into Israel during the Jewish state's 2006 offensive in southern Lebanon. Some longer-range rockets reached central Israel.
Israel has accused Hezbollah and Iran of carrying out a suicide bombing in Bulgaria on Wednesday that killed five Israeli tourists at Burgas airport, a popular gateway to the Black Sea coast. Iran has denied any involvement.