Wednesday Nov 09, 201112:01 PM GMT
'Not even 500 Israelis will be killed'
Tue Nov 8, 2011 6:2PM
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Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak
Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak has dismissed as "delusional" recent reports regarding the increasing possibility of Tel Aviv launching a military strike against Iran.


“Israel had not yet decided to embark on any operation," Barak said on Tuesday.

"War is not a picnic. We want a picnic. We don't want a war," Reuters quoted Barak as saying.

Barak also criticized reports suggesting that as many as 100,000 Israelis could be killed if Iran attacks Israel in retaliation against Tel Aviv aggression.

“There will not be 100,000 casualties, and not 50,000 casualties, not 5,000 casualties and not even 500,” Barak said.

Referring to the upcoming International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report about Tehran's nuclear program, he said, "We are probably at the last opportunity for coordinated, international, lethal sanctions that will force Iran to stop."

The Israeli minister, however, expressed doubt that the UN Security Council would impose tough new sanctions against Tehran in response to the IAEA report, which is expected to reveal supposedly new information about Iran's nuclear program.

Israeli President Shimon Peres said on November 6 that an attack on Iran was becoming increasingly more likely.

Meanwhile, Israeli media reported last week that Barak and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were trying to garner support in the cabinet to launch a military attack on Iran.

The United States and Israel have repeatedly threatened Tehran with the "option" of an attack based on the allegation that Tehran is pursuing a covert military agenda.

Tehran has categorically refuted the West's allegations, saying as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the IAEA, it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

Iranian officials have promised a crushing response to any military strike against the country, warning that any such measure could result in a war that would spread beyond the Middle East.

MYA/HSN/HGH
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