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U.S., Israel deny air drill report

July 11, 2008 at 4:59 PM

JERUSALEM, July 11 (UPI) -- U.S. and Israeli officials Friday denied reports that Israel is using U.S. airbases in Iraq to prepare for a possible attack on Iran.

Several Mideast media outlets reported an Iraqi minister as saying Israeli airplanes were in Iraqi airspace and landing at U.S. airbases in preparation for an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said, "I find that report inconceivable, and clearly someone is either misinformed or intentionally trying to create mischief," Press TV of Iran reported.

An Israeli military spokesman also played down the report, describing it as "utterly baseless."

Meanwhile, officials of an unnamed Arab country told Israeli officials that they and representatives from other countries would not oppose an Israeli strike against Iran, sources told Haaretz. The representatives said they were concerned about Iran's growing influence in the region, creating potential Shiite-Sunni rifts.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak Thursday said Israel was the "strongest country in the region," the Post reported, and has "already proved it did not shy away in the past from acting when it fears its vital interests are at stake."

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