War danger not past for Israel
The Jerusalem Post

25 March 2003

Although it appears as though Israel is only on the sidelines of the latest war in the Gulf, Israeli officials believe the threat of the country sustaining an Iraqi missile attack keeps increasing as coalition forces come closer to toppling Saddam Hussein.

Sources told Israel Radio that under duress, Saddam could be expected to fire any surface-to-surface missiles left in his arsenal at the Jewish state.

The comments follow the criticism leveled by Iraq's vice president today at Arab countries for not showing enough solidarity with the Iraqi people. Iraq fired 39 Scud missiles at Israel in the 1991 Gulf War, in attacks that were seen then as an attempt by Iraq to break up Arab world support for the US by trying to goad Israel to retaliate.

Although US forces have taken over air fields in western Iraq, the Scud-firing zone of the last Gulf War, Israeli officials are not confident that coalition forces are in sufficient control of the area to rule out the possibility of Iraq setting up missile launchers there.

Home Front Command has not changed instructions issued to the public last week at the war's outset to keep gas masks handy and a sealed room in homes and schools for protection in the event of a chemical attack.

Former Shin Bet director Yaakov Perry said the alert is a sound policy, and that he believes that if he is capable, Saddam would attack Israel. "Nobody can guess what surprises could be in store," Perry said in a radio interview.