JERUSALEM — Israeli President Shimon Peres on Sunday warned Iran against considering a surprise attack, at a ceremony commemorating the 35th anniversary of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war.
The war began with Syria and Egypt launching a surprise invasion of Israel on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur in which early battlefield successes destroyed the myth of Israel's military invincibility.
But Peres said that although the initial invasion came as a "complete surprise," Israel soon emerged victorious. "What began as a terrible catastrophe was in 18 days transformed into an extraordinary victory.
"The IDF (Israeli army) stopped 101 kilometres (63 miles) from Cairo and 30 kilometres (19 miles) from Damascus," he said at a ceremony honouring Israeli soldiers killed in the war.
Peres went on to warn that "our new enemy, the arrogant Iranian leadership... should not rely too much on the element of surprise."
Israel considers Iran its main strategic threat because of Tehran's accelerating nuclear enrichment programme, which Israel and the West believe is aimed at developing nuclear weapons.
Iran insists its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful and has vowed to press ahead with it despite three rounds of UN Security Council sanctions.
Israel is widely considered the sole nuclear-armed state in the Middle East, though it has never officially confirmed nor denied having such weapons.
The 1973 war, known as the Yom Kippur War in Israel, claimed the lives of 2,689 Israelis.
Copyright 2008 AFP