Israeli army has three plans for Iran offensive, could strike Hezbollah: military chief

Israeli army has three plans for Iran offensive, could strike Hezbollah: military chief
Israel's outgoing army chief has made new threats to attack Iran, revealing different scenarios in which Israel could destroy Iranian nuclear infrastructure.
3 min read
14 January, 2023
Kochavi made repeated threats against Iran and its Lebanon-based ally Hezbollah during his term as Israeli army chief [Getty/archive]

Israel’s outgoing army chief Aviv Kochavi revealed on Friday three Israeli schemes to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities,  and renewed Israel's threats against Lebanon.

"Iran today possesses enough enriched material to produce four nuclear bombs, three at the 20 percent level and one at the 60 percent level," Kochavi told local media before the end of his term.

He is due to be replaced by Herzi Halevi next week.

Speaking to Israel HaYom, Kochavi said there were three plans for different possible scenarios against Iran, which experts say could enrich uranium to weapons-grade level soon.

However, it will take years for the Middle Eastern country to build a deliverable warhead.

"These extend from a retaliatory strike on Iran that would be unrelated to the nuclear issue, to the taking out of the Iranian nuclear installations and auxiliary sites in that project, and if the situation eventually escalates into a full-fledged campaign then these plans also include the targeting of military sites and other assets,” Kochavi said

He added that Israel’s ultimate goal was to inflict major damage to Iran’s nuclear programme.

Former Israeli defence minister Benny Gantz said in December that Israel could attack Iranian nuclear sites in two or three years. For more than a decade, Israel has threatened to attack its regional enemy's nuclear facilities if it deems world powers' diplomacy with Tehran a dead end.

International efforts to renew a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran have stalled in recent months.

Kochavi also renewed a warning that Israel could bomb Lebanon if the Iran-backed Hezbollah group became involved.

"We assume, in practice, that the attack on Iran could lead to a campaign in the north, in which Hezbollah will participate and may lead" the war, Kochavi added, warning that Israel had prepared offensive plans for such a scenario.

The outgoing head of the Israeli army claimed the military had thousands of targets in Lebanon that are Hezbollah sites, including an underground tunnel to sites where missiles are stored.

"When I say thousands of targets, I don't mean 3000 or 6000, I mean much more than that. And all of them from the southern border to Beirut, and from the sea to the east, will be attacked at a very high rate."

He threatened that Israel will "take Lebanon back 50 years" and inflict "unprecedented destruction."

Israeli media claimed recently that Iran was smuggling weapons to Hezbollah via the Beirut International Airport, which Lebanese authorities denied.

There are fears that Israel could use this a pretext to target the airport like it did during the month-long war it fought with Hezbollah in 2006, when it inflicted heavy damage on Lebanon’s infrastructure and killed over a thousand Lebanese civilians.

The two enemy states agreed in October to delineate their maritime border between them after years of US-mediated talks. The land boundary between the two - known as the Blue Line - remains disputed.