Current and former US intelligence officials estimate that any Israeli attack on nuclear sites in Iran would go far beyond airstrikes from F-15 and F-16 fighter jets and likely include electronic warfare against the Islamic Republic's electric grid, Internet, cell phone network, and emergency frequencies for firemen and police officers.
The officials, who based their assessment on a US intelligence report published last summer, told the Daily Beast news website that Israel has been assembling a multibillion-dollar array of high-tech weapons that would allow it to jam, blind, and deafen Tehran's defenses in the case of a pre-emptive aerial strike.
According to the officials, one of the weapons Israel has developed is capable of mimicking a maintenance cell phone signal that commands a cell network to “sleep,” effectively stopping transmissions. The Israelis also have jammers capable of creating interference within Iran’s emergency frequencies for first responders, they told the Daily Beast.
The sources also said that in case of an attack on Iran, Israel would likely exploit a vulnerability that American officials detected two years ago in Iran's big-city electric grids, which are not “air-gapped”—meaning they are connected to the Internet and therefore vulnerable to a Stuxnet-style cyberattack.
One source told the Daily Beast that Israel has the capability to bring a denial-of-service attack to nodes of Iran’s command and control system that rely on the Internet.
According to the report, the likely delivery method for the electronic elements of this attack would be a drone the size of a jumbo jet.
The Daily Beast said Israel had already employed some of the technology at its disposal during its alleged aerial attack on a Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007.
"Syrian military got a taste of this warfare when Israeli planes 'spoofed' the country’s air-defense radars, at first making it appear that no jets were in the sky and then in an instant making the radar believe the sky was filled with hundreds of planes," the report said.
A recent report published by the International Atomic Energy Agency suggested Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons. On Wednesday Defense Minister Ehud Barak caused a storm when told American broadcaster Charlie Rose he'd also seek nuclear weapons if he were Iranian.
Meanwhile, an Iranian website reported Thursday that "at least 36" members of the Revolutionary Guard were killed during last week's massive explosion at a military base outside Tehran. Initial reports said 17 people were killed in the blast.
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