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Israeli PM denies rift with military ranks over Iran

(Xinhua)

08:56, August 01, 2012

JERUSALEM, July 31 (Xinhua) -- In an interview with Israel's Channel 2, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that he is still deliberating whether or not to strike Iran's nuclear facilities and downplayed report that the military echelon are not in favor of attacking Iran.

Netanyahu said that "Israel cannot count on anyone else" when it comes to the Iranian threat.

He dismissed earlier reports that Israel's military ranks reject the possibility of a strike on Iran. "In Israel, the political ranks make the decisions and the operational ranks carry them out," said the prime minister.

According to a Yedioth Aharonoth report earlier on Tuesday, officials in Washington recently named Israel's top security echelon as opponents to a military operation that would exclude the United States.

The report quoted unnamed U.S. sources as saying Israeli army chief, military intelligence chief, Air Force commander and Mossad chief objected to a solo Israeli military strike on Iran.

Other former senior security chiefs have come under fire for publicly criticizing the government's statements on Iran.

Former Mossad director Meir Dagan and former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin have both previously warned that a strike without U.S. backing would only set back Iran's nuclear program by a few years, and ignite a regional conflict with disastrous consequences for Israel.
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