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Deputy US army chief in 'secret' Israel visit

Sept. 6, 2012 3:21 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 7, 2012 2:50 A.M.)
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- The deputy chief of the US army James Winnefeld is in Israel on a "secret" visit, the Israeli news site Ynet reported.

Discord between the US and Israel on the Iranian issue is on Winnefeld's agenda during his visit, Ynet said.

The low-profile visit follows a warning from US Chief of Staff Martin Dempsey that the US did not want to be "complicit" in an Israeli attack on Iran.

"I don't want to be complicit if they choose to do it," Britain's Guardian newspaper quoted the top US general as saying.

Israel -- thought to be the only country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons -- says the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran would pose a threat to its existence. Tehran denies it is developing weapons and says its nuclear program is peaceful.

With the approach of US elections in November, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for a tougher stance against Iran -- implicitly knocking Obama's emphasis on diplomatic and sanctions pressure to halt Iranian nuclear work.

While Israel would expect US backing if it decided to strike Iran, Dempsey's remarks suggested Washington would not be drawn into a conflict.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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