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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Dimona on alert?

The Sunday Times of London is reporting this morning that the alleged nuclear plant in Dimona is being protected by Patriot missile batteries and was placed on 'red alert' status more than thirty times last week out of fear of a revenge attack from Syria.
A battery of American-made Patriot antiaircraft missiles has been moved to Dimona in the Negev desert following intelligence that a strike may be launched in retaliation for Israel’s bombing of a suspected nuclear site in Syria two months ago.

In a highly unusual move, the officers in charge of the missiles were permitted to talk to Israeli state television about their preparations. “We’re ready to launch the missiles in seconds, once we’re on full alert,” said First Lieutenant Adi, a young female officer who is the deputy commander of the battery.


Tension is mounting in Israel. “Every civilian aircraft en route from Cairo to Amman, or from Jeddah to Cairo and vice versa, which deviates even slightly from its route, sets off an alarm and risks a missile being fired,” said the female commander of the Patriot battery.

The unit is authorised to shoot down any aircraft which approaches, civilian or combat.

An Israeli Mirage jet that approached Dimona by mistake was shot down during the Six-Day War in 1967, while a Libyan Boeing 727 which lost its way in a storm in 1973 and approached Dimona was also downed. All 113 on board were killed.
Two points to consider. First, as noted by the last paragraph, there is nothing new here. Dimona has been protected the same way since it was built in the 1960's. No one is going to take the chance that any kind of projectile comes near that reactor. In that context, what was stated by the officers in charge of the Patriot battery is really nothing new. The statement that they are 'ready' is meaningless.

As to the supposed thirty 'red alerts' last week, all I can say is consider the source. The Times article was written by its Jerusalem correspondent Uzi Mahnaimi, and according to him, we were going to attack Tehran last January. Mahnaimi has a history of exaggeration and hyperbole.


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