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Israel approves budget of $1.5bn to prepare for attack on Iran

A general view of the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, is seen on April 9, 2007, 180 miles south of Tehran, Iran. [Majid Saeedi/Getty Images]
A general view of the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, is seen on April 9, 2007, 180 miles south of Tehran, Iran. [Majid Saeedi/Getty Images]

Israel has approved a budget of NIS 5 billion ($1.5bn) to prepare for a possible attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, local media revealed on Monday. According to Israeli Channel 12 TV, NIS 3bn will come from the current budget, with the balance coming from the new budget slated for approval in November.

Preparations for the attack, it was reported, include various types of aircraft, intelligence-gathering drones and special munitions. The TV channel, which did not name its sources, said that such an attack on Iran would need munitions capable of destroying heavily fortified underground sites.

The Times of Israel said that approval came just days after the US Air Force announced that it had carried out a successful test of its new "bunker buster" bomb, the GBU-72 Advanced 5K Penetrator. This is designed to be carried by a fighter jet or a heavy bomber that Israel does not have, the newspaper pointed out.

However, it noted that a smaller bunker buster bomb, the GBU-28, was sold to Israel secretly in 2009. It is not thought to be able to penetrate Iran's Fordo nuclear facility.

READ: Iran accuses IAEA of 'double standards', 'ignoring' Israel

Israeli TV said that the US test was based on experience gained by Israel in its bombing of the Palestinian resistance groups' underground tunnel network in Gaza during Israel's military offensive in May.

Walla News reported last month that the Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army, Aviv Kochavi, said that the occupation state had "greatly accelerated" preparations for action against Iran's nuclear programme. Speaking to the UN General Assembly last month, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said: "Words do not stop centrifuges from spinning… We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon."

Israel remains ambiguous about its own nuclear weapons. It is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and does not allow international inspectors into its nuclear facilities at Dimona, in the Negev Desert.

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