Report: Obama threatened to shoot down Israeli jets sent to attack Iran

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — President Barak Obama threatened to shoot down Israeli jets in 2014 if they were sent to attack Iranian nuclear facilities, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported.

The Arabic-language Al-Jarida newspaper cited “well-placed” sources in its report on Saturday.

According to the report, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided in consultation with Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, as well as top security and military commanders, to strike Iranian nuclear sites. The decision came, according to the newspaper, after Israel discovered that the United States and Iran were set to sign an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program following secret negotiations.

Israeli fighter jets practiced for the mission, including flying into Iran’s airspace without being detected by radar, according to the report.

An Israeli minister revealed the plans to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, leading to the Obama threat to shoot down Israeli jets before they reached their targets in Iran, according to Al-Jarida. The source indicated that the minister was Liberman.

Netanyahu aborted the operation in the wake of the threat, leading to the further breakdown of relations between U.S. and Israel, according to the report.