Sale of 'Bunker Busters' Seen as Warning to Iran

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Byline: Abraham Rabinovich, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

JERUSALEM - An Israeli arms specialist suggested yesterday that the proposed sale by the U.S. to Israel of 100 bunker-busting bombs, announced in Washington this week, was intended primarily as a warning to Iran because Israel already produces such bombs.

Yitzhak Ben-Israel of Tel Aviv University, a retired general who formerly led the Israel Defense Ministry's research and development branch, told Israel Radio that the purchase of the bombs had no operational significance because Israel manufactured very similar bombs.

"Perhaps there was a symbolic reason for the sale, perhaps a signal to Iran," he said on Israel Radio. "We already have the capability." Mr. Ben-Israel did not suggest whether the signal might have been initiated by Israel or the U.S.

The Pentagon notified Congress on Tuesday of a proposed sale to Israel of 100 laser-guided GBU-28 bombs that are capable of penetrating 90 feet below ground and destroying a bunker encased in 30 feet of concrete.

The 2-ton weapon could be carried on the U.S.-built F-15 aircraft in Israel's possession. The conventional bunker buster, which is not nuclear, was first used in the first Persian Gulf War in 1991.

The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said Israel had requested the purchase of the bombs from the Lockheed Martin Corp. …