* Paper says secret briefing took place earlier this month
* Israeli officials refuse to comment/confirm report
JERUSALEM, July 29 President Barack Obama's
national security adviser has briefed Israel's Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu on a U.S. contingency plan to attack Iran
should diplomacy fail to curb its nuclear programme, an Israeli
newspaper reported on Sunday.
The Haaretz newspaper said that the U.S. adviser - Thomas
Donilon - had described the plan in talks with Netanyahu earlier
A senior Netanyahu aide, Harel Locker, refused to comment on
the report when asked about it in an interview with an Israeli
radio station. Another Israeli official reached by telephone,
said "we do not comment on closed-door diplomatic meetings".
Haaretz said the secret briefing was the most significant
effort by high-level U.S. officials who had visited Israel in
the past month, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to
try to dissuade Israel from launching its own military strike on
The report coincided with a visit to Israel by Obama's main
rival in his reelection bid this November, Republican candidate
Mitt Romney, who is due to meet Netanyahu on Sunday.
Quoting a senior U.S. official it said spoke on condition of
anonymity, Haaretz said Donilon had told Netanyahu the Pentagon
was planning for a possible decision to attack Iran's nuclear
sites, and had shown him some of the plans.
In their talks, the same official said Donilon had also
detailed the U.S. military's ability to penetrate nuclear
facilities buried deep underground, and had said that such
contingency plans were being drawn up in case of a possible
deadlock in diplomacy with Iran.
The failure of talks between Iran and six world powers to
secure a breakthrough in curbing what the West fears is a drive
to develop nuclear weapons has raised international concerns
that Israel, widely assumed to be the Middle East's only
nuclear-armed state, may opt for a go-it-alone military strike.
Israel has warned the West it thinks it is only a matter of
time before Iran's nuclear programme achieves a "zone of
immunity" in which bombs will not be able to effectively strike
uranium enrichment facilities buried deep underground.
Iran says its programme is solely for peaceful purposes.
On a visit to Jerusalem this month, Clinton said Israel and
Washington were "on the same page" with respect to Iran, calling
Iran's latest proposals to world power talks on the issue "non
"Our own choice is clear, we will use all elements of
American power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,"