Report: Israel fitting nuclear missiles on German-built subs

FILE -In this May 5, 2008 file picture a dolphin class Israeli submarine and missile ships sail down the coast during a military demonstration in Tel Aviv. A senior German official says the government has approved the subsidized sale of another Dolphin-type military submarine to Israel. The official says Germany has set aside 135 million euro (US dlrs 180 million) in next year's budget to pay for about a third of its cost. Dolphin-class submarines are capable of carrying nuclear-tipped missiles, but there is no evidence that Israel has armed them with such weapons. Israel already has three Dolphin submarines from Germany, one half-funded and two entirely funded by Berlin, a staunch Israeli ally. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said Wednesday Nov. 30, 2011 a 2005 agreement between the two nations included an option for another subsidized submarine which was now activated at Israel's request. (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill,file)
TARA TODRAS-WHITEHILL
In this May 5, 2008 file picture a Dolphin-class Israeli submarine and missile ships sail down the coast during a military demonstration in Tel Aviv. Dolphin-class submarines are capable of carrying nuclear-tipped missiles.
AP Photo/TARA TODRAS-WHITEHILL

(CBS News) Israel is arming submarines ordered from a German shipbuilder with nuclear weapons, the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported Monday.

According to the magazine's Spiegel's investigative report, submarines built by the shipyard HDW in the northern German city of Kiel are being outfitted by Israel with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.

Three submarines have been delivered to Israel, with three more under contract for delivery by 2017, and the purchase of more being considered.

Despite official government statements in the past disavowing knowledge of Israel's deployment of nuclear weapons on the submarines, former high-ranking officials from Germany's Defense Ministry have told the magazine that they had always assumed Israel would outfit the submarines with nuclear defense capabilities.

Israel Deploys Nuclear Weapons on German-Built Submarines (Der Spiegel: English)

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Der Spiegel that Germans should be "proud" that through these defense measures they have helped ensure the preservation of the state of Israel "for many years."

Israeli does not comment officially on its nuclear military program.

The German government had helped underwrite the sale of the first three submarines delivered - subsidizing half the cost of one and the entire cost of two others.

Berlin is financing one-third of the cost of the sixth submarine, or about 135 million euros ($168 million). Chancellor Angela Merkel has placed conditions on delivery, however, including that Tel Aviv allow the completion of a Gaza Strip sewage treatment plant (partly financed with German funds) and end the expansion of settlements. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met none of the terms.

Steffen Seibert, a spokesperson for Merkel, told Der Spiegel that all submarines had been delivered unarmed, and that the government "will not speculate on subsequent arming."

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told Agence France-Presse, "I can confirm that we have German submarines. It's no secret. As for the rest, I am not in a position to talk about their capacity."