Benny Gantz (centre) salutes during a ceremony in Tel Aviv on August 13, 2013 with US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey (left)
Benny Gantz (centre) salutes during a ceremony in Tel Aviv on August 13, 2013 with US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey (left) © David Buimovitch - AFP/File
Benny Gantz (centre) salutes during a ceremony in Tel Aviv on August 13, 2013 with US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey (left)
AFP
Last updated: October 9, 2013

Israel army chief says war possible on many fronts

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The head of Israel's armed forces has painted a grim picture of a future war in which the country could come under simultaneous attack in many ways.

"The war could open with a surgical missile strike on the general staff building in the heart of the Kiriya (defence ministry complex) in Tel Aviv," Lieutenant General Benny Gantz told a conference in remarks broadcast by public radio on Wednesday.

"It is possible that there will be a cyber attack on a site supplying the daily needs of Israeli citizens; that traffic lights would stop working or the banks would be paralysed," he added.

Gantz said that Lebanon's Shiite Muslim Hezbollah movement could pose a major threat.

"The accuracy of their missiles will increase dramatically, and if Hezbollah chooses to strike a pinpoint target, almost anywhere in Israel, it could do so," the military's website quoted him as saying.

Hezbollah, whose southern Lebanon heartland borders Israel, fought the Jewish state in a 2006 showdown that killed some 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and nearly 160 Israelis, most of them troops.

Gantz postulated that along with a missile hit on the military headquarters, patrols on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights could come under attack from Islamic militant groups.

"The Chief of Staff will be told that there are three kidnapped soldiers, one of whom is a battalion commander," he said.

"Responsibility for the incident will likely be taken by a terrorist organisation, either from global Jihad or another organisation without a specific affiliation.

"The pastoral landscape of the Golan Heights... could turn with a sudden bang into a battleground of blood, fire and pillars of smoke," Gantz added.

Israel seized the strategic northern plateau from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move the international community does not recognise.

The military website quoted Gantz as saying that while the scenarios he cited were all hypothetical, they were well within the realm of possibility.

"Sound imaginary?" he asked the audience of academics. "I don’t believe so."

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