US: Israeli Exercise Was Dry Run for Iran Strike
Israel 'ready' to hit Iran's nuke facilities if talks fail
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2008 6:36 AM CDT
An Israeli F-16 fighter jet advances as it prepares to take off for a mission in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Baz Ratner, File)
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(Newser) – A recent Israeli exercise looked to US officials very much like a rehearsal for a strike on Iran, the New York Times reports.  The Pentagon also believes the massive exercise in the first week of June, involving over a hundred fighter jets, was a message to the world that Israel is ready to use force if Iran's nuclear program cannot be halted by peaceful means. “There’s a lot of signaling going on at different levels,” one Pentagon official tells the Times.

Iran is becoming increasingly jittery over the prospect of an Israeli strike and has stepped up its air defenses. US officials don't think an Israeli strike is imminent, but with the Israeli government worried that Iran is close to mastering nuclear weapons technology and acquiring surface-to-air missiles, some feel that time may be running out.