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Wednesday, August 18, 2010     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Tel Aviv would be target in 'any future conflict'

TEL AVIV — Israel has assessed that its financial center would be the first target in any regional war.


Officials said Iran has been preparing its proxies to fire missile and rocket salvoes toward the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. They cited the area's dense population, military headquarters and financial center.

"In any future conflict, missiles will fall in the center of the country," Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai said.

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In remarks on Aug. 10, Vilnai said Israel has not yet completed its defense against all enemy missiles. He said civil defense preparations and facilities would be key to reducing casualties from attacks from the Gaza Strip, Lebanon and Syria.

"The sooner we prepare in advance, the more lives we will save," Vilnai said.

Officials said the Defense Ministry was seeking to enhance civil defense facilities in the Tel Aviv area. They said the ministry has been upgrading emergency sites while seeking to complete a missile defense network.

Hamas and Hizbullah have developed capabilities to fire missile and rocket salvoes in the Tel Aviv area, officials said. They cited the acquisition of Iranian-origin Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 rockets, with ranges of up to 100 kilometers.

The Defense Ministry has also overseen a study to help coordinate air and missile defense operations during any future war. The ministry has been working with the Israel Air Force to determine regulations and areas where manned aircraft could not be accidentally shot down by missile defense assets.

"A radar could accidentally mistake a fighter-jet for a missile and that could be tragic," an official said. "We have to make sure that this doesn't happen."

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