EXCLUSIVE: The Israeli army is updating plans to attack Iranian nuclear sites and is prepared to act independently, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz told Fox News.
Israel has identified numerous targets within Iran that would damage its ability to develop a nuclear bomb.
“If the world stops them sooner, it is very good. But if not, we must be independent and we must defend ourselves,” Gantz said in his first interview with an American media.
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Amid mounting regional tension over Iranian power action and violations of the 2015 nuclear deal, intelligence assessments claim that Iran will likely target Israel using powers in Syria and Lebanon during 2021.
Gantz said the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah has hundreds of thousands of rockets. A classified map of targets shared with Fox News shows many of the rockets between civilian areas along the Israeli border.
“This is a map of objectives. Each of them has been verified legally, operationally, with intelligence and we are ready to fight,” Gantz added.
The annual intelligence briefing of the Israel Defense Forces indicated that Israel is preparing for several days of fighting with Hezbollah. Local media reports said 3,000 Lebanese targets would be attacked every day during the upcoming conflict, with the aim of killing 300 Hezbollah fighters every 24 hours.
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Israel is expected to continue targeting Iranian-backed groups in Syria that Gantz says help facilitate arms transfers to Lebanon.
Since early 2020, Israel has targeted more than 500 Iran-linked sites in Syria with airstrikes, according to Israeli Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi.
Last week, US President Biden ordered an additional airstrike in Syria after numerous rocket attacks against US interests in Iraq.
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While the Biden administration has stated its willingness to return to the Iran nuclear deal, Israeli officials from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Gantz believe that the question of Iranian powers must be addressed in any future deal.
“American policy must be American policy, and Israeli policy must remain Israeli policy,” Gantz said.