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´Ministers told 300, at most, would die in Iranian attack´ (JERUSALEM POST) By JPOST COM STAFF 04/03/12)Source: http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=264566 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
In the event of an Iranian attack on Israel, less than 300 people would be killed during three weeks of non-stop fighting on multiple fronts, according to estimates delivered to the security cabinet in a briefing, Channel 10 reported on Monday.

According to the estimates, described as a worst-case scenario, thousands of missiles would be launched toward Israel from Lebanon, Syria and Gaza as part of the Iranian attack. The scenario took into account Israel´s defenses as of 2012, with the Iron Dome rocket- defense system not yet at its full deployment.

Missiles would also be launched at Israel from Iran, according to defense experts briefing the ministers, however, they added, Tehran´s conventional missile capabilities are limited.

The estimates echoed comments Defense Minister Ehud Barak made last year about a potential war with Iran. Jerusalem does not want war, he said in an interview with Israel Radio in November, but even if it is drawn into a war against its will, fears of mass casualties are unfounded. "There´s no chance in such a situation for 500,000 killed, not 5,000 or even 500 killed."

Despite Barak´s assurances of relatively low casualties in a war with Iran, Kadima MK Ze´ev Bielski warned in February that Israel´s civil defenses are not ready to protect the population in a missile war.

Almost one in four Israelis lack access to bomb shelters, whether communal or reinforced rooms in private homes, Bielski, chairman of a parliamentary panel on home defense preparations stated.

"Are we prepared for a war? No," he said. "Things are moving too slowly and we are wasting very precious time."

Such shelters could be vital if Israel were to attack Iran´s nuclear facilities and Tehran struck back, either directly or through its allies on Israel´s borders.

Israel says 100,000 rockets and missiles are pointed at it, many of these held by Syria, Lebanon´s Hezbollah and Hamas, although they may decide to sit out any war between Israel and Iran.

The Civil Defense Ministry, which was set up after Israel suffered thousands of rocket strikes in the 2006 Lebanon war, confirmed Bielski´s data while seeking to play down his alarm.

"Our position remains that if everyone does what they are expected to do during an emergency, the situation will be tenable," one ministry official said.

Reuters contributed to this report. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 04/03/12)


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