ISRAEL has drawn up secret plans for a combined air and ground attack on targets in Iran if diplomacy fails to halt the Iranian nuclear programme.
The inner cabinet of Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, gave ďinitial authorisationĒ for an attack at a private meeting last month on his ranch in the Negev desert.
Israeli forces have used a mock-up of Iranís Natanz uranium enrichment plant in the desert to practise destroying it. Their tactics include raids by Israelís elite Shaldag (Kingfisher) commando unit and airstrikes by F-15 jets from 69 Squadron, using bunker-busting bombs to penetrate underground facilities.
The plans have been discussed with American officials who are said to have indicated provisionally that they would not stand in Israelís way if all international efforts to halt Iranian nuclear projects failed.