Israel given OK by Saudis to free grounded warship

Israel, using the United States as a go-between to gain Saudi cooperation, rescued a grounded Israeli missile ship and its crew from a sandbar off the barren Saudi Arabian coast as Saudi soldiers looked on. Israeli military sources confirmed the unusual deal between the two nations, which do not have diplomatic relations, after the story leaked out of the Defense Department in Washington Monday.

Israel notified Saudi Arabia of the grounding in the Gulf of Aqaba through the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, asking the Saudis not to interfere because Israeli sailors were trying to free the ship, the sources said. The Saudis complied, they said, and the Arab kingdom did not make public the incident.

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