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Nuclear ready { July 4 2002 }

U.S. Air Force: Israel has 400
nukes, building naval force

Thursday, July 4, 2002

A United States Air Force report asserts that Israel is
building a nuclear naval
force meant to respond to any nuclear strike by such
countries as Iran or Iraq.

It is the first time a U.S. military institution has
stated that Israel has produced a
hydrogen bomb. The number of purported Israeli nuclear
weapons cited in the
report is double that of previous assessments.

The report, sponsored by the air force's
Counterproliferation Center, asserts that
the navy can deploy any of what it asserts is Israel's
400 atomic and hydrogen
weapons, Middle East Newsline reported. The center is
located in the Maxwell Air
Force Base in Alabama.

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In a report entitled "The Third Temple's Holy of Holies:
Israel's Nuclear Weapons,"
U.S. Army Col. Warner Farr said Israel's nuclear arsenal
has grown from an
estimated 13 nuclear bombs in 1967 to 400 nuclear and
thermonuclear weapons.
Farr said Israel's navy could deploy nuclear weapons on
the fleet of three
German-built Dolphin-class diesel submarines.

"Israel will then have a second strike capability with
nuclear cruise missiles, and
this capability could well change the nuclear arms race
in the Middle East," the
report, which Farr said is based on unclassified
sources, read. "Israeli rhetoric on
the new submarines labels them 'national deterrent' assets."

The report said these nuclear missiles could have a
range of 350 kilometers. Israel
would try to base its nuclear naval force near Oman,
with which Israel has informal
relations, the September 1999 report, which was recently
published by the center,

"The first basing options for the new second-strike
force of nuclear missile capable
submarines include Oman, an Arab nation with unofficial
Israeli relations, located
strategically near Iran," the report said.

The U.S. Air Force Counterproliferation Center was
established in 1998. The
center is meant to help prepare air force commanders
counter the threat from
weapons of mass destruction. The report did not deem
Israel's purported nuclear
arsenal as a direct threat to the United States.

The report said Israel's Defense Ministry has requested
from the government of
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon authorization for a
retaliatory nuclear strike. Israel
could also use Jordanian air space for a nuclear strike
on Iran, which the report
said could produce a nuclear warhead as early as 2004.

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