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The chief of Israel’s armed forces said preparations are under way for a possible pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear sites.

Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said in a speech Wednesday that while Israel supports U.S.-led efforts to rein in Iran’s uranium enrichment through sanctions, it is also prepared to tackle the problem militarily.

“The international community must act with determination to stop the nuclearization of Iran, but should this action not succeed, we in the Israel Defense Forces must prepare for any scenario,” Ashkenazi said.

“In the coming years the need to strike at significant long-range targets will become far more important. Therefore the capability to act both defensively and offensively against various threats will be upgraded greatly with a strong emphasis on long-range capability,” he said.

Ashkenazi further said that a recent surge in Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza may force Israel to mount a major invasion, though the Olmert government appears reluctant at this stage to commit to an action of such scope.

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