Report Says Israel Flew Fighter Jets Over Iran

According to the London-based Elaph, which quotes a ‘special source,’ Israel and the United States have held exercises simulating striking Iranian military installations

Deiaa Haj Yahia
Deiaa Haj Yahia
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An Israeli F-35A fighter jet at a pilot's course graduation ceremony at Hatzerim Air Base, in 2021.
An Israeli F-35A fighter jet at a pilot's course graduation ceremony at Hatzerim Air Base, in 2021.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz
Deiaa Haj Yahia
Deiaa Haj Yahia

An Arabic-language news source claimed on Tuesday that Israel has flown fighter jets in Iranian airspace several times in past months. Elaph, an independent newspaper launched by a Saudi businessman and based in London, cites “a special source” who revealed joint Israeli-U.S. maneuvers aimed at preparing for future strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities.

The report also says that Israel and the United States held exercises to simulate striking Iranian military installations and seizing warships in the Red Sea. This was not the first such exercise, it said, adding that the two countries held similar exercises in past months.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Yair Lapid told foreign journalists that the nuclear deal taking shape between Iran and world powers is unsatisfactory and “does not meet the standards set by President Joe Biden: to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state.”

He added that should a nuclear agreement be signed, Israel will not be beholden to it, and that Israel would act in order to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Lapid emphasized that “removing sanctions will allow Iran to launder money to additional countries and to create a direct path to funding terror."

As negotiations continue between Iran and world powers, Defense Minister Benny Gantz will pay an official visit to the United States on Thursday, in which he will meet with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

He said on Wednesday, “Tomorrow I will leave for the U.S. and convey a clear message to them regarding the negotiations between Western powers and Iran on the nuclear agreement ... Iran’s nuclear capabilities must be scaled back significantly. The Iranian pipeline financing its allies in the regions must be disconnected. We will discuss this issue with the Americans, and at the same time, Israel will continue to build up its strength and capabilities so that in any situation, it will know how to defend itself.”

According to a senior policy official, the head of Israel's National Security Council is currently in Washington in order to discuss the matter. The official added that “The deal that is currently on the table has more capitulations compared to the original agreement,” and added that “the right way to arrive at an agreement is to put a credible military threat on the table.”

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