Israel is sending three submarines with nuclear cruise missiles to the Persian Gulf near the coast of Iran, The Sunday Times reported.
The British newspaper said one of the submarines – designed to act as a deterrent and collect intelligence — was already sent for fear of any possible missile attack on Israeli sites by Hebzollah, Iran and Syria.
Israel also fears that these attacks could include air bases and missile launchers, The Sunday Times said.
It said the German-built submarines of Flotilla 7 have visited the Gulf before. Israel only now has decided to keep at least one there permanently.
The Sunday Times quoted the flotilla’s commander, identified as “Col. O,” as telling an unidentified Israeli newspaper: “We are an underwater assault force. We’re operating deep and far, very far, from our borders.”
The submarines, each carrying up to 50 crew members, can stay at sea about 50 days and remain submerged at least a week, according to the report.
It said some of the cruise missiles the subs contain carry the most advanced nuclear warheads in Israel’s arsenal.
The Sunday Times cited an Israeli navy officer as saying that the warheads could be used if Iran continues its nuclear program.
The officer warned that the 1,500-kilometer range cruise missiles can reach any target in Iran.
An Iranian admiral hit back, telling The Sunday Times: “Anyone who wishes to do an evil act in the Persian Gulf will receive a forceful response from us.”