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. Israeli spies want budget doubled: media
JERUSALEM (AFP) Jan 04, 2005
Israel's spy agency Mossad has pressed the government to double its budget in order to tackle the perceived nuclear threat from Iran and prevent terrorist attacks, various media reported Tuesday.

Mossad made the demand during a meeting of the defence and foreign affairs parliamentary committee, the reports said.

The money was vital in order to deal with Iran, which Israel and the United States accuse of developing nuclear weapons, and "international terrorist networks" preparing attacks against Israeli assets abroad, they said.

A possible Israeli-US attack against Iranian nuclear installations has been reported in American, Arab and Israeli newspapers in recent months.

Washington and Israel have publicly denied there is any such plan.

The budgets of Mossad and Shin Beth -- its sister domestic intelligence service -- are secret and awarded directly from the prime minister's office.

Israel's intelligence apparatus is supervised by a sub-committee drawn from the defence and foreign affairs committee which meets behind closed doors.

On November 15, Israel's second television station said Mossad had been in crisis since Meir Dagan, a close associate of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, took over two years ago.

More than 200 agents, including seven heads of departments have resigned recently.

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