independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Chuck Hagel starts Middle East tour

US defence secretary Chuck Hagel places a wreath at the Hall of Remembrance as he tours Yad Vashem in Jerusalem (AP)

US defence secretary Chuck Hagel is using his first visit to Israel as Pentagon chief to underscore his view that Israel must decide for itself whether and when to use military force against Iran.

Mr Hagel arrived in Tel Aviv on Sunday - the first stop on a five-country Middle East tour.

He told reporters on his flight from Washington that Israel has every right to defend itself, and that Israel and the US share the objective of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

He also acknowledged some differences of view with the Israelis on the question of when and if Iran will decide to go ahead with building a bomb.

Press Association

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