Defence oIsrael has successfully test-fired a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and striking Iran, fanning a public debate over whether the country's leaders are agitating for a military attack on Tehran's atomic facilities.
While Israeli leaders have long warned that a military strike was an option, the most intensive round of public discourse on the subject was ignited over the weekend by a report in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot
that said the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the defence minister, Ehud Barak, favoured an attack.
That was followed by a report in the Haaretz
on Wednesday that Netanyahu is lobbying cabinet members for an attack, despite the complexity of the operation and the likelihood it would draw a deadly retaliation from Iran. An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Netanyahu did not yet have a majority.fficial says military tested rocket propulsion system as reports suggest country's leaders in favour of attacking Tehran
An Israeli defence official told the Associated Press that the military tested a "rocket propulsion system" in an exercise planned long ago.
Further information about the test was censored by the military. Foreign reports, however, said the military test-fired a long-range Jericho missile - capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and striking Iran.
Israel considers Iran its most dangerous threat. It cites Tehran's nuclear programme, its ballistic missile development, repeated references by the Iranian leader to Israel's destruction and Iran's support for anti-Israel militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
Iran denies allegations that it aims to produce a bomb, saying its nuclear programme is meant only to produce energy for the oil-rich country. It has blamed Israel for disruptions in the programme, including the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and a computer virus that wiped out some of Iran's nuclear centrifuges.
Israel has repeatedly said it hopes economic sanctions will persuade Iran to halt its nuclear programme. Israeli diplomats have been lobbying the international community for tougher sanctions.
Source: The Associated Press