Obama to offer Israel 'nuclear umbrella'


US President-elect Barack Obama plans to offer Israel a strategic pact designed to fend off any
nuclear attack on the Jewish state by Iran, an Israeli newspaper reported today.

The Haaretznewspaper, quoting an unnamed US source close to Obama for its information, said Mr Obama's administration would pledge under the proposed "nuclear umbrella" to respond to any Iranian nuclear strike against Israel with a US retaliation in kind.

No immediate comment on the Haaretzreport was available from Israeli officials or the US embassy in Tel Aviv.
Iran denies its nuclear programme has military designs. But virulent anti-Israel rhetoric from Tehran has spread fears that the Israelis, who are believed to have the Middle East's only atomic arsenal, could attack their arch-foe pre-emptively.