London: Saudi Arabia has conducted tests to stand down its air defences to allow Israeli warplanes to use its airspace in any bombing raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities, The Times newspaper reported Saturday.
“The Saudis have given their permission for the Israelis to pass over and they will look the other way,” a US defence source in the region told the paper.
“They have already done tests to make sure their own jets aren’t scrambled and no one gets shot down. This has all been done with the agreement of the (US) State Department.”
Riyadh denied the British report on Saturday, calling it “false” and “slanderous,” the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
“Saudi Arabia has followed the false and slanderous allegations reported by some British media that it would let Israel attack Iran via its airspace,” SPA quoted a foreign ministry official as saying.
The kingdom “rejects violating its sovereignty or the use of its airspace or territories by anyone to attack any country,” the unidentified official said, noting that Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.
Israel, which regards Iran as its principal threat, has refused to rule out using military action to prevent Tehran developing nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear programme is aimed solely at power generation.
The Times said Riyadh, which views Iran as a regional threat, had agreed to allow Israel to use a narrow corridor of its airspace in the north of the country to shorten the distance in the event of any bombing raid on Iran.
It said that a source in Saudi Arabia said the arrangement was common knowledge within defence circles in the kingdom.
“We all know this. We will let them (the Israelis) through and see nothing,” the source told The Times.