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Israel joins forces with Saudi to face Iran

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Israel’s military chief of staff said in an interview Thursday that his country was prepared to cooperate with Saudi Arabia to face Iran’s plans “to control the Middle East.” “We are ready to exchange experience with the moderate Arab countries and exchange intelligence information to face Iran,” Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot was quoted as saying by Elaph, a Saudi-run news site.

Asked whether any information had been shared recently with Saudi Arabia, he said “we are ready to share information if necessary. There are many common interests between us and them.” Israel’s army confirmed the contents of the interview, which was rare as Israel and Saudi Arabia have no official diplomatic ties.

Sunni Muslim powerhouse Saudi Arabia has long been at loggerheads with Shiite, non-Arab Iran but friction has spiralled in recent weeks. Earlier this month, Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri announced from Saudi capital Riyadh that he was quitting, citing Iran’s “grip” on his country.

The leader of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite group supported by Iran, has accused Saudi Arabia of pressing Israel to launch attacks against it. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made similar allegations this week. Israel and Hezbollah fought a devastating war in 2006.

Eisenkot said in the interview that “we have no intention of initiating a conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon and reaching a war, but we cannot accept strategic threats to Israel there. “I am very happy with the calm on both sides of the border, which has lasted 11 years. On the other hand, we see Iranian attempts to escalate.”

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