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Berlin to sell Israel 3 more nuke-capable subs: Report

BERLIN TO SELL ISRAEL 3 MORE NUKE-CAPABLE SUBS: REPORT

Berlin has approved the sale of three more high-tech submarines to Israel, boosting the size of the country's nuclear-capable submarine fleet to nine, Der Spiegel has reported.

The newsweekly said Germany's Federal Security Council greenlighted the €1.5-billion deal at a closed meeting on Wednesday, and that Berlin would subsidize a third of the costs.

Berlin issued no official statement on the matter, as the council's decisions are confidential.

Since 1998, Germany's ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems has produced five advanced Dolphin-class submarines for Israel, with a sixth now under construction at the company's shipyards in Kiel.

The advanced submarines are capable of carrying missiles tipped with nuclear warheads.

- CORRUPTION CLAIMS
The recent approval came despite an ongoing investigation in Israel of corruption claims surrounding a huge 2014 arms deal.

It was revealed last year that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's lawyer David Shimron also worked as an advisor for the Israeli representative of ThyssenKrupp.

Netanyahu was a strong supporter of the submarine deal.

Der Spiegel reported that according to a memorandum of understanding between Germany and Israel signed this April, Berlin has the right to cancel the deal if the ongoing investigation proves that corruption took place.

- CONTROVERSIAL DEAL
The submarine deal also sparked debate in Germany in the past, with opposition parties warning it would be a wrong signal for Israel and could undermine regional stability.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative-left coalition government has publicly criticized the Israeli government's settlement policy and hindering a two-state solution, but also underlined Germany's special responsibility for the security of Israel, due to the Holocaust.

Merkel has been a strong supporter of Israel and pursued policies meant to deepen ties between Germany and the Jewish state. She has repeatedly said that Israel's security is "part of Germany's reason of state."

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