An IAF helicopter
An IAF helicopter Photo by Tal Cohen
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A semi-official Iranian news agency reported Wednesday that Israel Air Force helicopters recently landed at a Saudi Arabia airport and unloaded equipment intended for attacking targets in a Muslim state.

This follows last weekend's reports of an American fleet passing through the Suez Canal, triggering fears that the United States and Israel were preparing for an attack on Iran, with Egypt's cooperation, the Arabic language newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi said.

The Israeli aircraft reportedly landed at Tabuk Airport on June 18 and 19 and that the Saudi airport canceled numerous flights to enable the Israeli aircraft landing, the FARS agency said in an unconfirmed report titled "Suspicious military activity of the Zionist regime in Saudi Arabia."

The agency quoted a Saudi passenger as saying the aviation authorities canceled a flight scheduled to take off from Tabuk Airport without giving any reason.

The U.K. daily The Times reported some 10 days ago that Saudi Arabia had agreed to open its air space to Israeli aircraft as part of preparations for a possible attack on Iran. The report claimed the Saudi air force had begun training to enable safe passage for the Israeli planes, thus shortening the flight time to the Persian Gulf considerably.

Israel did not comment on this report, but Saudi Arabia firmly denied having agreed to such a move.

Arab news sites reported Wednesday that following the flotilla affair, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has canceled a number of agreements for military cooperation with Israel, including one enabling IAF training in Turkish air space. According to the reports, Israel was planning, under this agreement, to fly to Georgia and from there to continue toward Iran.

Over the weekend Egyptian sources said that an American fleet consisting of 11 frigates and an aircraft carrier, believed to be the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman, crossed the Suez Canal from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea.

The report, which appeared on Friday in Al-Quds, said commercial boat traffic in the canal had been suspended for several hours to enable the American fleet to pass. Eyewitnesses were quoted as saying the fleet also included an Israeli frigate. The report also alleged that thousands of Egyptian soldiers were deployed along the Suez Canal to guard the ships' passage while two Egyptian fighter helicopters circled above.

Some reports said the fleet was on its way to the Persian Gulf, presumably as part of the efforts to implement the sanctions against Iran and supervise the ships going to and from Iran.

Al-Quds said that following the American fleet's passing through the Suez Canal, Egyptian opposition lawmakers warned the government not to repeat the mistake of opening the canal for American ships to attack Iraq. They also reportedly warned the government not to cooperate with the United States and Israel, saying the Arab and Muslim world will not take it lying down this time.