Moscow warning saves Iranian warplanes

April 24, 2009 at 1:43 PM
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JERUSALEM, April 24 (UPI) -- Iran moved 140 fighter planes from an air base in April after being told by Moscow that Israel was set to destroy them, military sources say.

The Russian warning prompted Iran to relocate the warplanes to remote bases and cancel an army air show planned for the next day, the military intelligence Web site DEBKAfile reported Friday.

The Israeli-based Web site says it learned from Iranian and intelligence sources that Tehran intended to hold its biggest air show ever on April 18 to let the world know that it was capable of fighting off an Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities.

Instead, only four aircraft flew over the base. Iranian media reported that the big show had to be canceled because of inclement weather.

DEBKAfile said Moscow's spy satellites and intelligence sources warned Tehran in time to save the planes.

Had the raid taken place, Iran would have lost the bulk of its air force, leaving its nuclear sites without aerial defense, the report said.

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