What was initially described as an operation designed to foil a “major terror attack” is now being described as a “mini-drill” in preparation for an Israel attack on Iran, Reuters reports.
Israel has emerged from the past few days of fighting with Palestinians in Gaza more confident that its advanced missile shield and civil defenses can perform well in any war with Iran.
Describing how the flare-up in violence had provided an impromptu opportunity to test out Israel’s defenses, one Israeli official said on Tuesday it gave useful indicators for any potential conflict with Tehran: “In a sense, this was a mini-drill,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“There are significant differences, of course, but the basic principles regarding the ‘day after’ scenarios are similar,” the official added, alluding to Iran’s threat to respond to any “pre-emptive strike” on its nuclear facilities by firing missiles at Israel.
Employing a similar doctrine of pre-emption against Palestinians, Israel killed two senior militants in a Gaza air strike on Friday, accusing them of planning a major attack on its citizens through the territory of neighboring Egypt.
Subsequent violence killed another 23 Palestinians and wounded three Israelis before a truce took hold on Tuesday.
That southern Israel weathered the scores of short-range rockets coming in from Gaza, with sirens summoning around a million citizens to cover and the Iron Dome aerial shield providing extra protection, was savored – warily – by Israeli defense officials.
“The Israeli home front has shown once more that it can deal with the challenges,” the armed forces’ commander, Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz, told reporters.
Though he described the cumulative threat from surrounding armies and guerrillas as “significant and abundant”, Gantz said: “I am convinced that our enemies understand the balance we have between a comfortable defense capability and our offensive capabilities, which we will use as required.”