Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Reuters)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning to strike Iran before the US elections in November, according to one of the country's leading independent television channels.

Following weeks of intensifying rumours and speculation about an Israeli attack on nuclear facilities, Channel 10 News claimed that Tel Aviv was "closer than ever" to a strike.

The TV station's military reporter, Alon Ben-David, who has enjoyed extensive access to the Israel Air Force, said: "From the prime minister's point of view, the time for action is getting ever closer," as sanctions against Iran have failed to thwart the country's nuclear programme.

"It appears that we are closer than ever [to a strike]," he added. He claimed that Netanyahu would not wait for a possible meeting with US president Barack Obama, following the UN General Assembly gathering in New York.

"It's not clear that there'll be a meeting," Ben-David said. "I doubt Obama could say anything that would convince Netanyahu to delay a possible attack."

The report came as the war drums grow louder that Israel was preparing for a ground attack on Iran before Christmas. Commentators believe that if Israel attacks first, the US will be forced to back it.

Although President Shimon Peres, opposition leader Shaul Mofaz and a number of generals are thought to be reluctant to support an attack, Ben-David noted that Netanyahu holds the necessary majority in parliament to win a vote in favour of military action.


In response to rumours of an attack from Israel, Iran's foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that the Jewish state is "in no position to attack".

"Israeli newspapers have confirmed this," he said.

He told Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram that Israel was a "malignant cancerous tumour which is destined to be destroyed"..

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said: "The very existence of the Zionist regime is an insult to humanity."