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The US is looking at unleashing a devastating military strike against Iran before President Trump leaves office, according to senior Israeli officials. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have in recent weeks been ordered to prepare for the possibility of a strike in Iran, following a secret meeting between the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia. This comes as the Israel was blamed for the killing of a top Iranian nuclear scientist in broad daylight on Friday.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in an ambush on his car by gunmen in the town of Absard, east of the capital Tehran.
Mr Fakhrizadeh was Iran’s most renowned nuclear scientist and headed the ministry of defence’s research and innovation organisation.
Iran’s supreme leader has responded to the assassination by vowing “definitive punishment” for those involved.
Hassan Rouhani also said Iran would retaliate over Mohsen Fakhrizadeh’s killing at a time of its choosing – singling out both Israel and the US for involvement.
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He said: “Iran’s enemies should know that the people of Iran and officials are braver than to leave this criminal act unanswered.”
Earlier this week it was revealed that the US held a secret meeting with Saudi Arabia and Israel to discuss Iran.
The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Saudi Arabia to meet Mohammed bin Salman and the US’s Mike Pompeo.
Mr Netanyahu was accompanied by Yossi Cohen, the head of the country’s Mossad spy agency.
Following denials by Saudi Arabia and silence from the US and Israel, the covert trip was later confirmed by Israeli education minister, Yoav Galant.
He said: “The very fact the meeting happened and was outed publicly, even if half officially right now, is a matter of great importance.”
The defence minister Benny Gantz also appeared to confirm there had been a trip after he condemned “the irresponsible leak of the secret flight to Saudi Arabia”.
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Following the trip, the Israeli government allegedly instructed the IDF to implement preparations for a US strike on Iran in Donald Trump’s last months in office.
Senior Israeli officials told Axios that they anticipate “a very sensitive period” leading up to Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration in January.
At the time of the secret meeting, the US Central Command sent B-52 strategic bombers into the Middle East for a “short-notice, long-range mission to deter aggression and reassure US partners and allies”.
Last week, President Trump even raised the possibility of attacking Iran’s uranium enrichment facility in Natanz in a meeting with senior members of his national security team.
President Trump proposed the strike following an International Atomic Energy Agency report about Iran’s surprising progress in developing stockpiles of enriched uranium.
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