Report: Gulf states give Israel ok to use airspace for strikes against Iran

By israelinsider staff and partners

02/25/07 "
Israelinsider" -- February 25, 2007 --- Israel requested permission from the United States to fly through Iraqi airspace, in case Jerusalem should decide to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, a Ynet article reported, citing a report Saturday in the Daily Telegraph.

A senior Israeli defense official said negotiations were underway for the US to provide an 'air corridor' over Iraq.

However, Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh denied the report Saturday and said any talk of an Israeli offensive against Iran was speculative alone.

Sneh said the reports apparently came from sources that did not want to uphold responsibility for the diplomatic inaction regarding Iran's possible nuclear armament.

In the event that Israel should target Iran's nuclear facilities, Israeli war planes would have to fly across Iraq to reach their targets, for which they need authorization from the Pentagon.

The Israeli defense official who spoke to the Telegraph said Israel was "planning for every eventuality, and sorting out issues such as these are crucially important."

"The only way to do this is to fly through US-controlled air space. If we don't sort these issues out now we could have a situation where American and Israeli war planes start shooting at each other," he added.

Meanwhile, on Sunday the Kuwaiti daily al-Siyassah reported that the Gulf states of Oman and the UAE would allow Israel to use their airspace should the Jewish state decide to launch preemptive strikes against Iran. The report quoted European and Arab diplomats.

The newspaper also quoted a Pentagon official said saying that Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan would assist Israeli raids on Iran.

2001-2005 Koret Communications Ltd.

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