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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Israel, US to flex military muscles for Iran

A graphic illustration shows the Arrow ballistic missile interception system in action against a simulated missile attack. Tel Aviv believes the system may be a necessary part of its preparations for a war with Iran.

Tue, 14 Apr 2009 07:55:58 GMT | PressTV

Israel has sketched out plans for a "massive" joint military exercise with the US amid preparations for an all-out war with Iran.

The exercise, code named 'Juniper Cobra', will test three different missile anti-missile systems, including an upgraded version of Israel's arrow interceptor, The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday.

Designed and constructed via American funding for Israel, the Arrow ABM system is a multi-billion dollar development program, which intercepts targets high in the stratosphere.

Two other American-made anti-missile systems, namely the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and the ship-based Aegis combat system, are also to be tested during the war games.

Like the arrow, THAAD intercepts ballistic missiles in the high stratosphere but has the capability to intercept targets both in and coming from the outer reaches of outer space.

The Aegis combat system is one of the most advanced and capable defense systems currently in use. It can simultaneously detect, track and destroy a multitude of targets.

While a date has not been publicized for the maneuvers, they are likely to happen during the current year.

During the past five years, the White House of former US president George W. Bush has ordered similar military exercises but the recent Juniper Cobra exercise will be the "most complex and extensive yet", The Jerusalem Post revealed.

Quoting unnamed senior Israeli officials, the newspaper said the exercise meant "to enable interoperability between Israeli and American BMD systems ... in the event of a conflict with Iran."

Tel Aviv has intensified its preparations for a war against Iran since Benjamin Netanyahu took power and became the Israeli prime minister.

Israel, the sole possessor of a nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, accuses Tehran of making efforts to build a nuclear bomb and threatens Iran with a military strike should the country continue uranium enrichment.

Echelons in Tel Aviv have voiced concern that the launch of air strikes against the Iranian nuclear infrastructure may trigger a war of raining missiles.

The preparations come at a time that the UN nuclear watchdog has confirmed the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran and has conceded that the country enriches uranium to a level of around 5 percent -- consistent with the development of a nuclear power plant.

Nuclear weapons production requires a rate of over 90 percent.

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