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Israel Thought to Possess 80 Nuclear Weapons: Experts

An Israeli submarine capable of firing nuclear-armed missiles is shown during a 2008 demonstration in Tel Aviv. Israel is thought to possess 80 nuclear warheads, according to a new expert analysis (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill). An Israeli submarine capable of firing nuclear-armed missiles is shown during a 2008 demonstration in Tel Aviv. Israel is thought to possess 80 nuclear warheads, according to a new expert analysis (AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill).

Israel holds a nuclear arsenal of 80 weapons that were manufactured no later than 2004, according to a new analysis by noted Federation of American Scientists experts Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris.

Though widely assumed to possess the Middle East's only nuclear stockpile, Israel maintains a posture of strategic ambiguity, neither confirming nor denying possessing such a deterrent. As the Jewish state is not part of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, there is little publicly available information about its nuclear capabilities.

Kristensen and Norris base their estimate, published in the September/October edition of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, on a 1999 U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency study.

Israel is believed to have generated enough nuclear-weapons material to fuel between 115 and 190 warheads, according to the authors. The report does not provide a reason for why Israel apparently stopped warhead production at 80 weapons, but notes the Defense Intelligence Agency does not predict any sharp stockpile increases before 2020.

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