Israel ready for 30-day war with Iran: minister

Israel is "ready as never before" for a 30-day war on multiple fronts with Iran should a war break out over Tehran's nuclear programme, outgoing Home Front Minister Matan Vilnai said today.

Israel is "ready as never before" for such a clash, Vilnai told daily Ma'ariv, while Israeli media interpreted the appointment of his replacement, Avi Dichter, a former internal security agency Shin Bet chief as "a signal that Israel is willing to strike".

The outgoing minister, who would soon take over as his country's envoy to China, however warned that such an effort should "always be coordinated" with the United States, in contrast to assertions by some of his senior colleagues who have said that the Jewish state reserves the right to decide independently on the matter, and any "military engagement be weighed carefully".

"The assessments are for a war that will last 30 days on a number of fronts," Vilnai said echoing similar opinion expressed by several other senior Israeli officials and in line with predictions that the Jewish state could suffer around 500 deaths in such a war.

"It could be that there will be less fatalities, but it could be there will be more, that is the scenario that we are preparing for according to the best experts," he was quoted as saying.

Speculations of an Israeli air strike on Iran's nuclear installations have been rife recently as Jerusalem has upped the pressure on the international community to declare that negotiations and sanctions have failed to deter Iran from continuing with its nuclear programme.

"There is no reason for hysteria", Vilnai told the daily adding, "I can say in the most authoritative manner that the home front is ready as never before in the country's history.

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