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15 December 2017 Last updated 16 minutes ago

Israel ready to share intel on Iran with Saudi Arabia: Military chief

Israeli Military Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot File photo Israeli Military Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot

Chief of Staff of Israeli military, Lieutenant General Gadi Eizenkot, says Tel Aviv is ready to share intelligence with Saudi Arabia in their joint efforts to confront Iran.

In an interview with the Saudi-owned Elaph online newspaper on Thursday, Eizenkot claimed that Iran was the "biggest threat to the region” and was seeking “to take control of the Middle East.”

“This is what must be prevented in the region,” he went on to say, noting that Tel Aviv and Riyadh were in full agreement about Iran's intentions.

Eizenkot further expressed Israel’s readiness “to exchange experiences with moderate Arab countries and exchange intelligence to confront Iran," the London-based daily reported.

Asked about whether Israel had shared such data with Riyadh recently, Eizenkot replied, “We are prepared to share information if it is necessary. There are many mutual interests between them [Saudi Arabia] and us.”
He also accused Iran of trying to destabilize the region by building weapons factories and supplying arms to resistance groups such as Hezbollah.

The Israeli military chief made the accusations even as he claimed that Israel's security situation has never been better than now.

Israel and Saudi Arabia have no diplomatic relations, but they are widely believed to have secret liaisons.

In the past few months, there have been numerous reports of the two sides planning to establish full diplomatic ties.

On Tuesday, Lebanon's al-Akhbar newspaper published a secret undated letter from Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. which put forward a plan to normalize ties with Israel despite “risks” of a public backlash.

In September, Israeli and Arab media reported that a Saudi prince had traveled to Israel and held consultations with senior Israeli officials over “regional peace.”

A month later, an Israeli official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP Arabic that Bin Salman had in fact been the prince who visited Israel.