LONDON (Agencies) Three German-built Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles have been deployed in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline, The Sunday Times reported on Sunday. The first has been sent in response to Israeli fears that ballistic missiles developed by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, a political and military organisation in Lebanon, could hit sites in Israel, including airbases and missile launchers. The submarines of Flotilla 7 - Dolphin, Tekuma and Leviathan - have visited the Gulf before. But the decision has now been taken to ensure a permanent presence of at least one of the vessels. The flotillas commander, identified only as Colonel O, told an Israeli newspaper: We are an underwater assault force. Were operating deep and far, very far, from our borders. Each of the submarines has a crew of 35 to 50, commanded by a colonel capable of launching a nuclear cruise missile. The vessels can remain at sea for about 50 days and stay submerged up to 1,150ft below the surface for at least a week. Some of the cruise missiles are equipped with the most advanced nuclear warheads in the Israeli arsenal. The deployment is designed to act as a deterrent, gather intelligence and potentially to land Mossad agents. Were a solid base for collecting sensitive information, as we can stay for a long time in one place, said a flotilla officer. The submarines could be used if Iran continues its programme to produce a nuclear bomb. The 1,500km range of the submarines cruise missiles can reach any target in Iran, said a navy officer. Apparently responding to the Israeli activity, an Iranian admiral said: Anyone who wishes to do an evil act in the Persian Gulf will receive a forceful response from us. Israels urgent need to deter the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alliance was demonstrated last month. Israels Defence Minister Ehud Barak was said to have shown US President Barack Obama classified satellite images of a convoy of ballistic missiles leaving Syria on the way to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will emphasise the danger to Obama in Washington this week.