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. Israel seeks US green light for Iran attack: report
LONDON, Feb 24 (AFP) Feb 24, 2007
Israel is seeking permission from the United States to fly its jets over Iraq to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, The Daily Telegraph newspaper said Saturday, citing sources.

A senior Israeli defence official told the conservative British broadsheet in a dispatch from Tel Aviv that negotiations were taking place for the US-led coalition in Iraq to provide an "air corridor" over Iraq if the Jewish state decided on unilateral action.

"We are planning for every eventuality, and sorting out issues such as these are crucial," the official said.

"If we don't sort these issues out we could have a situation where American and Israeli war planes start shooting at each other."

Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has in the past called for Israel to be wiped off the map.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a report Thursday saying that Iran had not halted, and in fact had expanded, its uranium enrichment programme, defying a United Nations Security Council demand to stop by this week.

The United States, France and Britain have called for tougher Security Council sanctions on Tehran, while Germany, China and Russia have taken softer stances. Iran denies US charges that it seeks nuclear weapons.

An Israeli officer involved in the military planning told The Daily Telegraph: "One of the last issues we have to sort out is how we actually get to the targets in Iran. The only way to do this is to fly through US-controlled air space in Iraq."

A senior Israeli security official who works on the strategic committee set up to deal with the Iran threat, chaired by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said: "The amount of effort we are putting into this single issue is unprecedented in the history of the State of Israel," the newspaper reported.

Israel has refused to rule out pre-emptive military action against Iran. Israeli warplanes in 1981 destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor near Baghdad after suspecting Iraq of aiming to build nuclear weapons.

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