The United States has completed its planning for a military strike on Iran, the US Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro said in remarks at a closed conference in Tel Aviv that were broadcast on Israel TV on Wednesday night.
“It would be preferable to resolve this diplomatically, and through the use of pressure, than to use military force,” Shapiro said in comments that were recorded Tuesday and were broadcast Wednesday. “But that does not mean that option isn’t available. Not just available, it’s ready. The necessary planning has been done to ensure that it’s ready.”
Shapiro, the Channel 2 TV report said, was speaking at a closed forum in Tel Aviv — reportedly an Israel Bar Association event — and the comments were recorded by a newspaper reporter. The TV item noted that the envoy had apparently not intended for his remarks to be publicly aired.
The broadcast of the Shapiro comments came a day after Israel TV reported that the Israel Air Force is soon to take part in joint military exercises in the US. The IAF has not trained in the US for several years.
The exercises, to be held in the coming months, will strengthen the relationship between the IAF and the US Air Force as they practice carrying out joint operations, according to the report.
Israeli and US air defense forces are also to take part in a major joint drill later this summer in Israel to simulate a massive attack. Thousands of US soldiers are expected to arrive in Israel for the drills.
The various reports come amid ongoing concern in Israel and the US over Iran’s drive toward a nuclear weapons capability. Israel’s leaders have said Iran must not be allowed to go nuclear, and indicated that they are contemplating military intervention if all other efforts to thwart Iran fail. US President Barack Obama has said Iran must not get the bomb, and ruled out the notion of containment, but has urged patience to give economic sanctions and other pressure more time to work while stressing that the military option is “on the table.”
In Israel on Tuesday, American National Guard and Israeli Home Front Command forces conducted search and rescue drills. The operations would be applicable in the case of either an earthquake or a missile barrage, officials said. If there were a major aerial missile attack or a large enough earthquake in Israel, US forces might assist in search and rescue operations.