News of an increased threat on Jewish and Israeli targets across North America comes at the same time as predictions of an imminent and detailed Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities arise.
Jewish community and Israeli government institutions have been warned that they stand a chance of being targeted by Iran, according to an internal Israeli security document obtained by ABC News.
A letter circulated by the head of security for the consul General for the Mid-Atlantic States warned that both guarded sites, such as Israeli embassies and consulates, as well as “soft sites” like Jewish schools, community centers, and synagogues, were at an increased risk of attack by an increasingly hostile pre-nuclear Iran.
The head of the Shin Bet internal security service, told a restricted audience in Tel Aviv that Iran is planning attacks on Jewish and Israeli targets in retaliation for recent assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists.
Law enforcement patrols in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Toronto have been stepped up in Jewish communities and at locations such as Jewish institutions and Israeli government locations. Bulletins warning community members and employees to remain aware and vigilant have gone up in several places. Included in the warning is notification that forged Israeli passports might be used to pass through security checks.
The Israeli security bulletin comes in the face of tension between the US and Israel over a potentially imminent military strike against Iran. Israeli officials have increasingly alluded to the possibility of conducting an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities to prevent the vocally anti-Israel government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from obtaining an atomic weapon. This is despite US President Barack Obama’s warnings to Israel not to take unilateral action against Iran.
US officials have urged Israel to rely on US-backed economic sanctions to deter Iran from continuing its nuclear program, and have said Israel would face missile strikes on population centers following an attack on Iran.
On Friday Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made a rare appearance before the people of Tehran and called Israel a “cancer” that must be cut out, warning the Jewish state not to attack Iran. He also threatened the U.S., saying its participation “would be ten times worse for the United States than for Iran,” according to another report by ABC News.
Also on Friday, NBC news presented a report on what an Israeli strike on Iran might entail.
The report was based on interviews conducted with current and former Israeli and US officials, and suggested that an Israeli attack on Iran would be a combined air and ground assault.
According to the report, Israeli artillery and air force would lead the attack, using Jericho 2 missiles capable of reaching a distance of 2,500 kilometers, F-15i aircraft, and Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles.
Because a single attack would not likely destroy Iranian nuclear projects, but rather target the most sensitive locations, another strike would likely be conducted in the future.