An Israeli government minister said yesterday that Israel would respond to an Iranian attack by destroying that country.
"An Iranian attack against Israel would trigger a tough reaction that would lead to the destruction of the Iranian nation," National Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said.
"The Iranians won't rush to attack Israel, because they understand the significance such action would have and are well aware of our strength.
"However they continue to provoke us by arming their Syrian allies and Hezbollah.
"Nowhere would be safe from Syrian and Hezbollah rockets."
Israel is conducting a massive five-day national emergency drill in response to perceived regional threats.
Ben-Eliezer said the drill, "is not a meaningless spectacle or a fictional scenario. The future reality is likely to be a number of times harsher than that which we recognize now. We are confronted with a situation where the home front becomes the front line."
"In a future war, it will be much safer to live in Nahariya and Shlomi instead of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv,.
"I expect that in the opening attack hundreds of missiles will strike Israel. There will be no place in the country which is not within range of Syria and Hezbollah's rocketsm," he said.
"We, as a ministry, need to prepare for the possibility that missiles will hit Israel's strategic spots, for which our ministry is responsible. You must use your heads and prepare for the worst scenarios."
A spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry, Muhammad Ali Husseini, said earlier that "countries in the region need to follow the Israeli exercise. These provocative acts must be raised before the senior officials in charge of these matters in the international community."
Alluding to the recent visit to the Middle East by US Vice President Dick Cheney, he said: "Unfortunately, after every visit by senior Americans in the region and the conquered territories, we see actions like this by the Zionist regime."