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Netanyahu Says Israel Still Considering Attack on Iran

July 31 (Bloomberg) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he’s still debating with government advisers whether to strike Iranian nuclear facilities.

The premier spoke in an interview with Channel 2 television broadcast as U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta arrived in Israel from Cairo to meet him, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and other officials tomorrow.

“I haven’t decided yet whether to attack,” Netanyahu said. “However, I see the commitment of this regime of ayatollahs to develop nuclear bombs that are meant to destroy us, and I won’t let that happen.”

Netanyahu said media reports that a decision on Iran has been made are wrong and irresponsible. While describing the process as one that involves conferring with a wide range of advisers, the prime minister noted that Israel’s 1981 air raid on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor was carried out over the objections of the Mossad and military-intelligence agencies.

In Cairo, Panetta told reporters he’ll discuss the Iranian nuclear threat with Israel’s leaders and review a “number of options.” Iran says its uranium enrichment program will be used only for peaceful purposes.

“It’s the wrong characterization to say we’ll be discussing potential attack plans,” Panetta said. “What we’re discussing are various contingencies and how we’ll respond.”

The discussions with Israeli leaders “are going to be more on what is the threat that we’re confronting,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Ferziger in Tel Aviv at jferziger@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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