Israeli army chief in US for series of meetings

Sunday, March 07, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff

Israeli Chief of Staff Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi departed for a week-long working visit to the US on Sunday amid increasing speculation that Israel is gearing up for a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Ashkenazi will hold numerous meetings with top US political and military officials while in Washington.

Last week it was reported that Israel had begun practicing rapid refueling, the type of which would only be used in a sustained aerial attack on a distant enemy.

That news corresponded with reports that Iran would have to move its uranium stockpile to less secure facilities in order to conduct planned enrichment, and that the Islamic Republic had nearly completed work on a massive missile launch site.

IHS Jane's, a respected international defense journal, reported on Friday that the new launch site east of Tehran can be easily seen in satellite imagery, and is clearly large enough to launch Iran's newly-introducted Simorgh missile.

The Simorgh is ostensibly a space-launch vehicle (SLV), but Israeli experts have noted that it could easily be converted into a long-range ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Jane's believes that North Korea aided Iran in the construction of the new launch site.

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