BERLIN, June 3 (UPI) -- Israel is quietly developing a submarine force carrying nuclear-armed cruise missiles, sources told the German magazine Der Spiegel.
The magazine said Sunday a German shipyard has already built three submarines for the Israeli navy equipped with a classified mechanism for launching cruise missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
Israel apparently has already armed the subs with nuclear weapons, the magazine said.
Although Israel does not comment on its supposed nuclear capability, Spiegel said Germany has been aware Israel has nuclear weapons. Former State Secretary Lothar Ruhl told the magazine the German government always assumed the submarines being built in a Kiel shipyard would carry them.
Germany is also footing much of the cost of the submarine program. Three more boats are waiting to be built, although Chancellor Angela Merkel has demanded Israel halt its expansion of settlements on the Gaza Strip as a condition of delivery of the sixth and final vessel.