Analysts for a reputable military journal have rated Israel as the world’s sixth nuclear power, alongside Britain, with up to 300 nuclear warheads.
Citing comments by British security experts, the British Jane’s Defense Weekly has revealed that Tel Aviv is currently in possession of between 100 and 300 nuclear warheads.
The firepower was more or less equal to that of the United Kingdom, the publication said.
The armaments, it added, were deployable via land, air or sea and could be rendered “fully” combat ready “within days.”
According to the International Institute of Strategic Studies, based in London, Israel’s strategic strength is based on short-range ground missiles Jericho 1, and intermediate range Jericho 2 missiles.
Based on Jane’s report, the scope of Jericho 1 has increased from 1500km to 4500 km. Since 2005, Israel has also added the Jericho 3 long-range missile with a targeting range of 7800 km to its stockpile.
The journal says in addition to conventional atomic warheads, some observers believe Israel has also developed tactical nuclear arms in the form of landmines and artillery shells.
Since 1958, when it began building its widely-reported Dimona plutonium and uranium processing facility, Israel has reportedly manufactured scores of the warheads, earning reputation as the sole owner of such hardware in the Middle East.
Former US president Jimmy Carter, aerial footage and decades of recurrent reporting have attested to the existence of the arsenal.
Despite the high-profile accusations that Israel introduced the weapons into the Middle East, Tel Aviv maintains a policy of deliberate ambiguity on the matter and has so far refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — a treaty which seeks to limit the spread of such weapons of mass destruction.
The US and its other European allies, however, have so far kept silent about Israel’s military nuclear activities.