Israel?s Defense Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer says that Iran will soon have a nuclear bomb. ?By the year 2005, they will be able to produce for the world an Iranian nuclear bomb,? he says. Iran has been able to develop nuclear capacity with the support of both Russia and North Korea.
The Israeli minister expressed hope that the United States and Russia could use their improved relations with Iran to deal with the looming threat and said he would not recommend preemptive strikes to deal with Iran?s nuclear weapons program. ?I have tried to convince everyone not to use bombardment. There are diplomatic ways, economic sanctions, whatever,? he says.
?More than that, today the relations between Russia and America are so good... I think it?s time for both of them to sit down and discuss? the situation. Ben Eliezer warned of the dangerous combination of terrorist strikes and nuclear weapons, saying there are indications that the al-Qaeda network and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah of Lebanon are joining forces.
He says that Israel has ?hard evidence? that some al-Qaeda terrorists have fled from Afghanistan and are entering Lebanon.
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In Israel, the Union of Local Authorities (ULA) has ordered the heads of local municipalities to prepare public bomb shelters.
The move came following talks with security forces, and the possibility that Israel will be the target of an Iraqi retaliatory strike in response to an upcoming American invasion.
ULA Chairman Adi Eldar sent a letter to municipality heads, requesting that they check the operational level of the shelters in their municipality. Municpalities were also ordered to make sure they have adequate gasoline reserves, and that their backup systems are in working order.
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