Attacking Iran Would Be Gargantuan Task for Israel

Would require hundreds of miles of dangerous flying: US experts
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2012 12:08 PM CST
Attacking Iran Would Be Gargantuan Task for Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – A hypothetical Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear program would be a dangerous and expensive mission full of practical hurdles, Pentagon-affiliated experts tell the New York Times. The mission would call for 100 planes, and pilots would have to zoom through more than 1,000 miles of unfriendly airspace whilst refueling mid-air, analysts note. Then they'd have to get past Iran's air defenses before launching multiple attacks on underground nuclear sites, all at the same time.

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Both US and UK officials have urged Israel not to launch such a strike. The US isn't sure that Israel's military is equipped to carry it out; its known fighter jets couldn't handle such a long distance, and it doesn't appear to have enough refueling planes. Washington officials worry the US would eventually have to take over, or that Iran could retaliate. "All the pundits who talk about ‘Oh, yeah, bomb Iran,’ it ain’t going to be that easy," says the Air Force's former intelligence boss. "There’s only one superpower in the world that can carry this off"—but even the US would have trouble reaching the deepest underground sites. (Read more Benjamin Netanyahu stories.)

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