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US downgrades anti-missile drills with Israel; sends CIA’s Petraeus instead to ease tensions


Only days after the United States announced that it will be scaling down its role in a joint-missile exercise with Israel scheduled for later this year, the US has sent CIA Director David Petraeus overseas to handle damage control.

Petraeus, the 59-year-old former commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, arrived in Israel on Monday to deal with what the Jewish state’s Debka news agency calls the “flames of discord” that have been fanned feverishly in recent days thanks to the latest news on a missile drill slated for next month.

The United States had previously agreed to participate at the beginning of 2012 in what was expected to be the largest joint missile exercise ever between the US and Israel, only for the program to be pushed back to October.

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