Israeli jets using Iraqi airspace to practise Iran strike
An Iraqi website has claimed that Israeli warplanes have been using Iraqi airspace to practise for possible bombing of Iranian nuclear facilities.
Nahrainnet.com, quoting unnamed sources in the Iraqi defence ministry, said that for the past month Israel has been using US bases in Iraq to conduct overflights.
Defence Ministry spokesman Major General Mohammed al-Askari dismissed the report on Friday.
"We have no information about Israeli jets using Iraqi airspace for rehearsals," he told AFP.
In Jerusalem, meanwhile, an Israeli military spokesman told AFP he was aware of the report and said, "I have no information on this."
The US military did not comment on the report.
Nahrainnet.com, a news portal, said the defence ministry sources were told by retired army officers that Israeli jets had been entering Iraqi airspace from Jordan and landing at an airport in Haditha in the western province of Anbar.
The report said its sources estimated that should the Israeli jets take off from the American bases in Iraq it would take them no more than five minutes to reach Iran's nuclear reactor in Bushehr.
Meanwhile, Iran on Saturday dismissed speculation that it risked being attacked by the United States over its contested nuclear drive, saying that a military strike would be "craziness."
"Any aggression or military action against Iran is an idiocy whose repercussions would hurt all," Iranian government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham told reporters.
"I don't think that such craziness and nonsense will prevail or is doable militarily," he added.
Tensions over the nuclear standoff have surged again in the past days after Iran test-fired a broadside of missiles -- including one it says brings Israel within range -- in war games that provoked international concern.
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki warned that if the United States or its regional ally Israel attacked Iran "then our response to them will be harsh and devastating."
"Of course, the Zionist regime and the United States do not have the capability to involve themselves in another crisis," he said in a speech Friday reported by the official IRNA news agency on Saturday.
Iran rejects Western accusations it is seeking atomic weapons and insists its nuclear programme is aimed solely at generating energy for a growing population whose fossil fuel reserves will eventually run out.