Israel’s New Secret Weapon Unveiled: High-altitude nuke EMP bombs

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British newspaper Sunday Times has exposed one of the "surprises" the Israel Defense Forces has in store in case of a military strike in Iran.

According to the Sunday morning report, the Jewish state could cripple the Islamic Republic's power grid with high-altitude nuclear electromagnetic pulses as part of a concerted attack to halt Iran's military nuclear program, which could "send Iran back to the Stone Age."

The report, by Uzi Mahnaimi, claims that the possible use of such a weapon has been raised in several quarters as a debate rages among Israel’s politicians about whether a swift strike should be launched against Iran's nuclear facilities.

Bill Gertz, a veteran American defense specialist, is quoted as saying that US intelligence agencies have reported “growing concerns that Israel will conduct a strike on Iran using a high-altitude nuclear burst aimed at disrupting all electronics in the country." 

The technology behind EMP, which is regarded as non-lethal, has been known for decades, the Sunday Times reports.

Also U.S. intelligence agencies recently reported growing concerns that Israel will conduct a strike on Iran using a high-altitude nuclear burst aimed at disrupting all electronics in the country.

The intelligence worries were triggered by recent publication of an article ( ) in the Israeli press suggesting the Jewish state should carry out an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, attack.

U.S. officials said the article likely reflects official Israeli government thinking about a possible preemptive response to Iran’s expected emergence as a nuclear weapons state in the near future.

Asked about the EMP report, an Israeli government spokesman declined to comment. A U.S. intelligence community spokesman also declined comment.

A U.S. official said the article in question appeared Aug. 6 in the news outlet Israel National News. The article stated that an Israeli nuclear burst over Iran could “send Iran back to the Stone Age.”

It was the first time the issue of a nuclear EMP attack by Israel had appeared in a mainstream Israeli press outlet.

U.S. officials also suspect the article was written by someone in the Israeli government who favors such a strike. Another theory among analysts is that the Israeli government, at a minimum, encouraged publication of the article.

The American author of the Israeli article, Joe Tuzara, wrote that growing signs Iran is speeding up development of nuclear weapons should lead Tel Aviv to launch the preemptive EMP attack.

“For the most part, Israel’s dilemma is focused singly on the use of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) without informing the U.S.,” Tuzara stated.

The attack could be carried out using a nuclear warhead detonated after launch by one of Israel’s Jericho III missiles at high-altitude over north central Iran.

EMP affects computers and other electronics and would disrupt critical infrastructure that relies on electronics and electricity, such as communications, transportation, and other networks.

The burst would create “no blast or radiation effects on the ground,” the article stated.

“Coupled with cyber-attacks, Iranians would not know it happened except for a massive shutdown of the electric power grid, oil refineries, and a transportation gridlock,” the article said ( via ).

“Food supply would be exhausted and communication would be largely impossible, leading to economic collapse. Similarly, the uranium enrichment centrifuges in Fordo, Natanz, and widely scattered elsewhere, would freeze for decades.”

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