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An Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear programme is likely to trigger a broader war between the two countries that could last 30 days.

Matan Vilnai ,Israel’s defense official who is stepping down to become Israel’s ambassador to China on Thursday said that the country was preparing for a scenario in which Iran and its allies in the region would fire hundreds of missiles at Israeli every day, causing as many as 500 fatalities.

“It could be that there will be less fatalities, but it could be there will be more . . . The assessments are for a war that will last 30 days on a number of fronts.” Matan  said

In an interview with the Maariv newspaper, Matan Vilnai said  that Israel was ready to face the consequences of a clash with Iran that could be sparked if the Jewish state decides to launch a strike against Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Matan Vilnai however warned that any military engagement should be weighed carefully, and cautioned that Israel should “always coordinate” with the United States.

Israel regards the Iranian nuclear programme as an existential threat and has said repeatedly that it will not permit the development of an Iranian nuclear bomb. Iran, in turn, insists that its programme serves only civilian purposes – a claim widely disputed by western governments.

Countries such as the US and Britain share Israel’s concern regarding Tehran’s nuclear ambitions but remain opposed to military action.