Jerusalem, May 15 (ANI): Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief Leon Panetta was sent on a secret mission to Israel to warn its leaders not to launch a surprise attack on Iran without notifying Washington.
As Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, prepares to visit Washington, it emerged yesterday that Panetta, went to Israel two weeks ago to seek assurances from Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak that their hawkish new Government would not attack Iran without alerting Washington.
Concerns have been rising that Netanyahu could launch a strike on Tehran's atomic programme, in the same way that Israel hit Saddam Hussein's Osirak reactor in 1981.
According to The Times, Israel has been preparing for such an eventuality. It has carried out long-distance manoeuvres and is due to hold its largest civil defence drills this summer.
The country's leaders reportedly told Panetta that they did not "intend to surprise the US on Iran".
During his visit to Washington, Netanyahu will meet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, whom he will try to convince of the need for tougher action against Iran.
Obama favours trying to engage Tehran, but his efforts have been received coolly by President Ahmadinejad.
The Israeli leader is expected to insist that the US stays focused on Iran, rather than tackling stalled talks with the Palestinians. (ANI)