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US defense leaders meet with Israeli defense chief

Panetta, Dempsey discuss Iran, Syria issues with Israeli defense chief in Pentagon meeting By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' Pentagon leaders met with Israel's defense minister Wednesday to discuss the ongoing tensions with Iran and Syria, amid escalating speculation that the Israelis will launch a pre-emptive strike against Tehran's nuclear facilities.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta hosted the session in his Pentagon office with Ehud Barak and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Pentagon press secretary George Little says the discussions allow the U.S. to coordinate closely with Israel on security issues. Israeli officials, however, have told the U.S. that they won't warn American leaders if they do decide to launch an attack against Iran.

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