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
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.
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
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, said.
"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